tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN May 28, 2011 2:00pm-6:15pm EDT
unity was another precursor he used. he entered into this -- may be in our society we tend to be more polite. it was a very rude confrontation with the u.s. administration. i do not know if you can go to the white house and keep insulting the president and get away with it. he has always worked on this he may have scored another point against president obama but i bode well forl the future relationship or even for his own standing in israel because he thought this was one way he could address likud and the right of likud and i don't think that in the long run this is going to work. i think it's already beginning to backfire. we're hearing voices within
israel and within the u.s. that it's a clear case of overkill and you don't get away with insulting the president like this and with lecturing people and coming to the states as though you own the place. i doubt he would get such a reception in anywhere in the world, including the kinesset. and another acceleration of cyberspace is the compression of time and i say this to emphasize that there is a pressing need within these changes in the other worlds and region. either we move fast, decisively and seriously and substantially on the issues and conclude a just peace, a real peace, or you lose the opportunity for a very long time. i don't think this is open-ended. i think there's a very strict time frame. ironically, here, obama was
trying to persuade israel that peace is in its own interests. he gave three reasons. the demographic argument that the palestinians aren't going to stay a minority, that they'll be a majority in the long run. then he talked about the arab spring and regional developments, that israel has to read them carefully and he talked about with the technological revolution, the knowledge that the whole world sees what's happening and israel is being criticized and losing friends, so to speak. but even that did not move israel. one thing that we did not see is a bold vision of a real plan that is workable.
you cannot constantly talk about self-determination, dignity, freedom and so on and then put that aside and talk about the palestinians. because the palestinians are part of this move. we are part of the need for freedom, for self-determination, the same principles would apply. and again, seems like the rejection of going to the u.n., postponing jerusalem, accepting the state, total identification of israel and israeli values. all these things we heard but i doubt whether obama said anything knew when he talked about 1967 boundaries and i'm really shocked that netanyahu reacted with such hysterical abandon, totally unthinkable. because every president for the
last 60 years has been talking about 1967. george bush said the occupation had to tend. it's in the road map, in the annapolis agreements, it's everywhere. it means that netanyahu doesn't read or doesn't listen because the 'sketch -- '67 is something new. so if you don't want that, what do you want? where do we go from here? more negotiations. that's not an option. two decades of negotiations produced more settlements, produced more suffering, more loss of land, ethnic cleansing in jerusalem, changing the character of jerusalem. and so what we need would be either a clear, bold plan that would change the dynamic on the ground and come to grips with the requirements of peace or you have to go with the palestinians
for positive, constructive alternatives. if you block us from the u.n., from getting accountability for israel, from trying to get protection for the palestinians, by peaceful means, by nonviolent means, then it seems to me you leave us with the option of violence as the only thing that works even though we believe that violence is a nonoption but time you cannot block a whole nation, keep it in captivity, under israeli domination which is much worse than having your own country oppress you because this is the oppression that is so pervasive that is affects your entire life. we have a time frame. either we move ahead or the opportunity is lost and we have either a breakout of violence or a breakdown.
the forces unleashed cannot be contained and the momentum is there. people are also acting with a new sense of self respect, confidence, hope. this is what it takes to make peace, not a sense of defeatism or being broken. so, we think that the next move again that we need to discuss further has to be a collective multilateral global effort perhaps with europe, and expanded quartet with an arab initiative that would produce new language and a new vision before matters get out of hand. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> let me start by picking up on your last comments about
mr. netanyahu and the last few weeks. it is obvious that this town has witnessed a debate, maybe behind closed doors, inside the administration between those who wanted to move more proactively and in fact suggest a package maybe along the lines that you have outlined and between those who thought this was too risky of an approach and that the president better wait until maybe after the presidential elections. obviously, the debate has been decided in favor of the second approach. the president did not have any actionable steps outlined in his speech and even the general principles that he outlined received, as you said, a lot of criticism, growth mr. netanyahu and from the hill, as well.
what is on everybody's mind is what will the palestinian response be in the context of the arab uprising. the issue of the arab street has not been a factor in u.s. decision making. people in this town feel that there is time and that we can wait until the u.s. presidential campaign before we pick this up later on. what is your assessment of this? why has the palestinian spring not moved maybe in the way that people people thought it would and is it september and what is your sense -- >> i think you have five questions. >> what is your sense of the
future -- of the future, particularly given the context of the arab spring. >> that's why i was saying to press a sense of urgency, to say that we do not have unlimited time and within what's happening in the arab world, there is certainly an acceleration of time. thing are moving very rapidly and what you can take for granted today you can't take for granted tomorrow. you can't take anything for granted except change, the fact that we are undergoing a period of change and the way we react to it. some react to it by shooting their own citizens and killing them by will. some trying to carry out a reform plan and others stepping down like in egypt and tunisia before the face of overwhelming popular uprisings. so in a sense, there is change. what the u.s. used to rely on,
it cannot rely on anymore. we are not going to carry out the bidding of the u.s. anymore. even those who traditionally have done it have seen what happened to regimes who were seen as only clients of the u.s. rather than leaders who are genuinely doing the bidding of their own people or responding to the needs of their own people so that's a way in which these regimes were discredited and ultimately dislodged. whether the u.s. is willing to understand that or not is a serious issue. you do not have time. any new regime will have, of course, on its plate, a really heavy domestic agenda, much having to do with economic reform and prosperity but also will need to signal to its own people that it's a departure
from the old pattern of behavior with the west and therefore it's going to stand up. we saw that in egypt because mubarak was precastinating. so they didn't engage effectively. and many egyptians were telling us this is a source of shame for us, of humiliation. they wanted ara jerome -- regime that did what was good for palestine, for their own people, not what that leader was told to do by the west. any other regimes coming out will try to carry out a domestic agenda and try to re-establish arab national credentials along the new lines we were talking about and to take steps
pertaining to palestine, at least that's not going to be to accommodate priorities by the u.s. or others or to put pressure on the palestinians to the u.s. needs or wants the way we saw things happening before. and that's a real change, that's one part of it. and it seems to me, that's why we said the u.s. should contextual what it's doing inside the region, and if you really look hard and deep, you know it's a real motivating factor and a real change pertaining to us. two, there is a time frame. we cannot afford to wait until 2012. we cannot afford to wait until election campaigns and so on are run. a choice. you could either have a bold
vision and a clear plan of action and be willing to spend or expend your credibility and your credit on effecting genuine change and real peace or you could tread water and allow the dimic to run its course. these are the two options and choosing to tread water means the situation will deteriorate, it won't get any better. the other factor here is the israeli factor. you have, in israel, one of the most extreme, hard-line militaristic coalitions with racist policies and the history of israel. it certainly has an anti-peace agenda. any of you who heard netanyahu and thought he was coming with a peace agenda certainly has not heard him clearly because he came to say i'm closing all
doors, that's it, there's no peace, unless you capitulate, you, in the u.s., and we in palestine, and accept what netanyahu thinks is best for everybody. this is certainly a recipe for disaster and instability and conflict and violence. if this government in israel, now there are voices, there are people writing in israel saying this is a very dangerous and irresponsible approach, relying on p.r. tricks and campaigns and deception and scoring points against the president and so on and showing him you can go over his head to the congress and this is your playing field. fine, but what next? where did you go from here? nothing. you have nothing to offer except more of the same of a situation that has cost the u.s. a great deal. it's cost the u.s. its credibility, its standing and a great deal of interest in the arab world among the arab
public, even if it managed to tame a few leaders, it did not manage to tame the arab public as a whole. so it's a new ball game, i think, and they have to see. >> that another question in this town a few months ago was that mr. abbas was weak because he did not represent all the palestinians and therefore any solution that did not include hamas was a solution that would not last. now that he has made an agreement with hamas, you know, the debate has shifted. >> yes. >> as you also have said. how do you see the next steps moving forward after a unity government is established with hamas? do you see this as a positive or negative development on the peace process? >> i think it's extremely positive and badly needed step. we talked about empowerment, we talked about responding to the palestinian people's needs.
the people as a whole, not just the young. we talked about repairing our democracy, we talked about resuscitating really active pluralistic system, putting hamas as part of the system, not as a replacement or substitute for the p.l.o. i've always said that hamas belongs twhn within this democratic pluralistic system, not as a substitute or replacement. that's the only way you can have a functioning political snas can lay claim to democracy in palestine so we started that unity with technical steps. o.k., we need a government that is a government of independence, of professionals, and so on, that will deliver the services and will build the institutions and take care of people's needs. it has also additional tasks, prepare for elections. this is very important. so long as we are divided, we
couldn't have elections, whether local government or legislative elections or presidential elections or even national p.n.c. elections for the p.l.o. we needed these elections because first of all the west has brought into question the legitimacy of all our institutions. the p.l.c. was dated. we needed elections, the council and presidential elections were delayed, as well and everybody was attacking everybody else. hamas was saying that the president was not legitimate, everybody was saying the legislative council is no longer legitimate because it has run its course, elections were delayed, and people were saying the p.l.o. is obsolete because it hasn't had elections and it need to have elections in order to represent all the palestinians including hamas and others, and it has to be done in a way as to include palestinians
in exile, not just in the west bank and gaza, so to do that, which is a real requirement for a democratic system in palestine, representative system. political system, i don't want to say government, because we are unique in the sense that our government is not political, and that meant that we needed to move ahead and we needed to have this unity to carry out elections, otherwise, it's very easy to start elections. we said local elections, hamas said no. that's it. you cannot have elections in one place and not the other and the same thing with presidential and so on. so that's one thing. other task it's interested with is rebuilding gaza. the situation there is absolutely drastic. it's inhuman. gaza has been destroyed, devastated, and yet under siege and without the ability and the
materials and funding to rebuild it. now we can start rebuilding and all of these are steps to start rebuilding gaza and get the funding. the problem is that there were lots of funds pledged to rebuild gaza but they did not materialize and because of the siege and closure, nobody could work and because of the rift and the division, nobody was willing to start rebuilding gaza. now we can. alleviation of the human suffering in gaza is very crucial, very important, then you move from there. then you have to have a plan for the reunification of the institutions within the west bank and gaza and other than the elections, as well, and paramount among this would be not just the service departments but the security. we have a reform plan, as you know, we've had a couple of them we worked on very hard since the 1990's in which we
said that the security forces have to be reformed in the sense that they have to be merged, we need no more than three and they need to be totally depoliticized and totally subject to the political of the executive authority and not themselves play a political role. that's why we have to guard our own unity. we have to tell both hamas and fatah that this is not a sharing the spoils and repoliticization of the security. that reunification means you have so many hamas and so many fatah and so on. means you repair your reform, your security forces and system bidepoliticizing them -- by depoliticizing them. it's a long agenda and difficult and we will have problems. we have problems about choosing the names of the prime minister
and so on because you do everything by consensus and whenever you do things about consensus, you have people objecting here and there, but i think there's enough determination to understand that if we do not succeed there, it could be suicidal domestically for us. this message has to be understood by the rest of the world and i think the americans are beginning to see this, the fact that hamas has moderated its political discourse, the in fact it has accepted requirements of unity and so on and that it has designated the presidency as the political and the p.l.o. as the political address, and so on, would, in a sense, allow for the palestinians to take decisions that are binding on everybody, and after all, ultimately, whatever decision you take when it comes to negotiations will have to be presented for referendum by the public. >> let's open it up, please. if you can identify yourself.
>> yes, my name is agana bhota, i come from the international crisis group. i have two questions. number one is, are you suggesting, in your analysis, that the strategy of buying time, which israel has adopted for 40 years now, is coming to an end? >> yes. >> my second question is, as the p.l.o., are you considering seriously one way or another how to stimulate the dormant potential influence of saudi arabia on the united states. thank you. >> we're going to take a number of questions and then, please.
>> michael lan. marwan introduced you as someone who speaks truth to power. it would be useful to speak truth to the powerless and i'm speaking of palestinian refugees. whether there is or is not a universal right to return regardless of the language of the universal declaration of human rights or u.n. general assembly declaration 194, it seems the public is united against the fact of many palestinians returning so at what point is it time to have a conversation with palestinian refugees about alternative futures so there's not another generation or more generations of people languishing in refugee camps forever. thank you. >> yes, yes. >> my name is abrahim hasam, i'm
egyptian-american living here. you describe prime minister netanyahu's visit and even after he offended the president publicly on television and he gave his awful speech at the joint congress, i'm really sad. i'd like to see how you feel, about the joint session of congress, senators and representatives, giving the guy, i was going to say a dirty word, but i would not, giving him 26 standing ovations. >> 59. >> 29 or 59. it is really sad. i mean, you're saying that the public opinion is changing. i don't think it is. if these are the people and the media, again, everything was talked about. obama's speech talked about the whole middle east and everybody talked about how bad obama is
for -- the dirty word -- i like to see how you feel, you guys, and is this hope to change the american public about this important subject. >> let's take one more question. >> barbara saddin, recovering journalist from the atlantic council. i remember meeting you 20 years ago at the post-madrid talks in washington. >> we were a good team. >> very good team. the question is about not violence that could break out, but non-violence. you spoke about the new tactics being used. is there a thought to trying to mobilize palestinians to march in east jerusalem, to march in the old city, and not to throw rocks at israelis, but truly use nonviolence to press their case and when you talk about september, you know the united
states will veto in the security council any declaration of independence. so is this going to be just kabuki? the p.l.o. already has representation around the world, so what's the point of pushing it this far? thanks. >> o.k. well, your first question is absolutely right, yes, of course, buying time is over. we have no more time and the conditions on the ground certainly make any solution impossible if israel were allowed to continue, that's it. when you talk about the two-state solution coming to an end, the de facto option is not a one-state solution. that's something we can work on and so on. it's going to be perpetuation of occupation and more confrontation and more control and more land theft and so on. so would that generate more violence or not? would that also incite public
opinion or not? would that change the relationship even between governments that have agreements with israel or not? there are all sorts of questions that are going to be raised if israel does not understand that there is no more time to be bought to create more prejudice. that's it. on the issue of the p.l.o. and saudi arabia, it's not just arabia. the whole arab world has power, has traction, has resources. and should be able to use all of these and not just its relations with the u.s. but in everything. the problem is that so far they were neutralized in many ways. saudi arabia probably understands that the next phase is different and the next phase requires engagement. there are people tacking about a new alignment in the arab world. i don't want to talk about this whether it's monarchal system as
opposed to nonmonarchal system as opposed to the axis of evil and axis of moderation. there are alignments in the region and i think saudi arabia understands that the role of any leading country in the arab world has to in many ways use the inherent power in order to try to do justice to the palestinians and to bring about just peace. we're not asking for them to invade israel and liberate us, we're saying, we need a just peace that can last before it's too late. it seems to me you cannot make it a precondition to abandon the rights of the palestinians and get the palestinian leaders to say that we will violate international law, we will violate the rights of our own people and we will tell them you have no rights. no. i think the only way to dole with the palestinian refugee
question is the triple tiered approach. you have to acknowledge the narrative, their history, their suffering. israel has to acknowledge its responsibility and accountability vis-a-vis the palestinian refugees. they didn't just happen like that and they didn't become refugees because the arab world told them to leave. we know what happened. 1948 is clear and there is a clear narrative that has to be acknowledged. that is the first essential step. the second step is acknowledging their rights. you can never exclude a people from the protection of international law and saying, o.k., for you, you're the exception, because the israelis are afraid, you don't have any rights. you can't do that, otherwise we can say we're afraid, israel has no right to exist. that's not the issue. the issue is you that have acknowledge their rights within international law, 194, u.n. charter, everything, all refugees have these rights. the palestinians are no
exception. you cannot constantly cast them outside the protection of the law. but then, when you have the third option, when you do these two steps, then you can discuss alternatives and options provided you give them the right to chose. once these two steps are done, then you can discuss all sorts of options and alternatives and give them the right to choose. that's the only way i think it will be solved but for israel to sit back and say, no, no, no, you have to my this, it means you're telling every palestinian leader, violate your own people's rights, negate your own legitimacy with your own people in order to talk to us. the arab initiative had a formula that it is a mutually agreed solution to the refugee question based on u.n. resolution 194. i think that's the exact -- >> an agreed solution.
>> an agreed solution based on 194. o.k. now, let's look at the different reason which that can be implemented to safeguard refugee rights and to give them the options once they know that that are not bereft of any right or any recognition of their narrative. these steps are essential and that's the truth that has to be said to everybody, i think. the joint meeting -- not joint session, i'm told, it should be joint meeting, right? something legal about session versus meeting. no, it's a joint meeting of congress. a joint session convenes only when the president is there unless netanyahu thinks he's become president. but at the joint meeting. i'll give you my point of view. i don't want to insult anybody, but i felt it was extremely
demeaning. it was extremely demeaning. if i were an american lawmaker, i certainly would not accept this type of treatment where somebody who is insulting the president, who is defying the whole american national interest and system, i mean, there is such a thing as a national insult, after all, i don't know if we take this or not, but we do take this very seriously. going to the representatives of the public and getting them to cheer him against their president. regardless of party politics or anything, there is such a thing as national dignity, what the arab spring is talking about. i felt it was extremely insulting and demeaning and if i were a congresswoman, i certainly wouldn't have done that, and i would have been very careful about safeguarding my national interests as opposed to israel's overriding, overbearing
attitude. public opinion is shifting in the u.s. i think if you go to universities, if you talk to public, if you have public lectures, people are learning more, they have access to different information sources. they are seeing what's happening. they are engaging more. they are expressing a will to challenge the process language and the problem the west had all these years by the mainstream media that totally distorted reality, obscuring the facts and truth. american public journalism is motivated by a sense of fair play and i'm asked all the time, how come we didn't know these things and once they know, they move and they have to hold their representatives accountable. unfortunately, the representatives think they can take policy decisions and foreign policy decisions on behalf of the executive rather than understanding what their role is. so it's their public that has to
hold them accountable, not just on issues of education and healthcare and so on, but also on issues where they're meddling in areas that are extremely dangerous and could threaten as even the american military said, and the american national interests and american security and the safety of american boys and girls in the region. so this sort of blind allegiance and adulation and so on, ah. but what's funny, now, look, there are certain people who are apologists and who will take whatever netanyahu says and turns it into the gospel truth. there are people like that. but there are also thinking critical people in the media and i've been reading all sorts of and op-eds and so are that are questioning this kind of attitude and are also
criticizing the fact that when you do things that go against your own national interests and that are for short-term gratification but not long-term interests, that this is, again, a very serious indulgence that could backfire buttening the long run, yes, the american public will make a difference, think tanks will make a difference and access to information will make a difference but we have to keep at it. it won't happen by itself. we've always been the other, the strange, the terrorists. we have to present ourselves and challenge misconceptions, stereotypes. very cheap language that presents us to the americans the way netanyahu did, huh, as terrorists and al qaeda and all that. maybe it resonates with the ignorant but sooner or later people know the truth. this is no not 1948 or 1947, ths is the 21st century.
people can get to the facts, can get to the truth, and we should make sure that they do. it's our greatest ally, the truth. we need it. might not be enough to set us free but at least it's the beginning. if nonviolence would break out. nonviolence did break out. remember the intifada and how nonviolent it was. we were beaten up, we were shot at, we were arrested, but we went day after day after day and we faced a very strong, fully armed israeli army and exposed the limits of power of the military occupation of the army when faced with a people's will to be free. the problem is, with the second intifada, millitration, acts of although violence and so on, that changed the equation and was exploited against us and we stood up and condemned violence particularly against the
civilians. the problem is, it was used as a pretext to carry out violence against us and to justify everything that happened afterwards. so mobilityization, yes, it will happen. you saw how palestinians mobilized, as i said, on may 15. this is something new. it's not just palestinians in the west bank and gaza and jerusalem. palestinians within 48, palestinians within lebanon and jordan and even in the states. there's a sense of solidarity and identification and a sense of the spirit, the pride of the palestinians. we will not be silenced anymore, we will not be oppressed and suppressed and excluded. we have a message and we will press it. now, this is something that israel has to understand and the u.s. has to understand, both, that there is an opportunity to resolve this honorably and we them that opportunity and
the arab world gave them that opportunity. if you don't take it, the resolution will not be to anybody's liking. it will take time, it will be painful. but you will see that the palestinians will resort to popular nonviolent action. as for the september and the u.s. veto, yes, of course. look, can anything be worse than the u.s. vetoing the settlement resolution? the u.s. constantly said settlements are illegal, right? they told us that the settlements have to stop, right? and yet when we went to the u.n. to get a resolution using american language, the u.s. was in a very awkward and sheepish situation of having to veto a resolution that is based on their own policy and using their language for the sake of israel. that's something that is
unconsciousable, something i can't believe. this is the greatest power in the world so far, it might not stay there for long, but still, you're violating your own policy and international law in order to subject it to israeli illegal actions of the occupation. this is something unheard of but they did it. not only did they do it but they put so much pressure on all of us, using also their arab allies not to go to the u.n. and the pressure was very great, but we still did and they used all our friends should tell us we shouldn't. we did it and we're going to go. we have to have access, we have to have recourse. we cannot constantly be shut out and the strategic alliance between the u.s. and israel is playing against peace, against our rights and also against the interests of the u.s. and the region and throughout the world so we will go. if they want to veto, they're trying to persuade the europeans, now, not to support
our bid for recognition, but i want to explain this clearly. what we're asking for from the u.n. is not recognition. states recognize states. we do have 116 countries that recognize us, 120 that recognize palestine. so that kind of recognition we're getting and we will accumulate recognition whether latin america, trying to get it from europe, we have arab alignment and africa. we will accumulate recognition. we want to safeguard our land, our borders. we got to the u.n. in a multilat lateral act, it is not a unilateral act of independence. we're going to the u.n., for heaven's sakes, where are we going? they keep saying it's unilateral. it's not unilateral. we, as the victims, as
palestinians under occupation who have had no support from anybody on the issue of our own freedom and dignity and independence and self-determination are going to the source of international law and human rights. this is where the international community is, isn't it? and we're going to tell them, please accept us as a member. we're going to apply for membership. we are an observeer, but we're always punished because we are awe -- a nonstate so we don't have the rights to the access of law.national once you get membership, it means you have access to all the you needaccountability within the u.n. system and then you have the recognition that you do have boundaries, that 1967 are your boundaries, that east jerusalem is your capital, that you do have rights including the right to self-determination. if the u.s. vetoes in the security council, we will resort to the peace provision and go to
the generally assembly and ask for a 2/3 majority to accept us as a member of the u.n. general assembly. that's what we need to do. uniting for peace is an american invention. during the cold war, during the korean crisis, right, to prevent the soviet union from constantly vetoing. so we've been slapped with 31 vetoes so far by the americans only for the sake of israel. it's time that there's a recognition that the palestinians have some rights and some humanity and there's a consensus emerging in the international community. you cannot keep stopping the flood. you cannot keep holding back recognition and knowledge and human rights and awareness and solidarity for the sake of all the wrong things israel is doing in palestine and to the u.s. and israel. >> let's take a question from the back. >> from the i.m.f. we have seen, from what has
happened, out of the arab spring, that nonviolence has been one of the factors for the effectiveness of the protests and for the backing of the international community to those movements. you have spoken about the u.n. and the possibility of acceptance by the general council of palestinian as a state. let's say this happens. there will be still the problem of the occupation. how do you view the occupation? someone in the audience mentioned the effectiveness of nonviolence. you, yourself, you were active during the first intifada in motivating and indeed in organizing and inspiring at least the nonviolent demonstrations that happened and they were quite effective and by the way, i liked your poetry you wrote at that time. >> thank you.
>> so, what would be now your message to the power, to the average palestinian, the ordinary palestinians who are asking, what shall we do after september? in the best scenario, let's say there's acceptance by the international community of palestine and the question is, how to resist occupation. would you yourself be willing to participate in such a nonviolent movement. thank you. >> we'll take two more questions. please, ambassador, please. >> landran bolding. i brought along copies of the d.v.d. of a film that i did three or four years in which you have an interview as a key part. and i brought some copies, and i have them at the side so people can help themselves. it's called "searching for peace
in the middle east" and you do a beautiful, succinct job of summarizing the peace and they're just as relevant as when you spoke of them three or four years ago. >> thank you. >> abrahim, i apologize for having been late for reasons beyond my control but i wish to greet you here. the last time i integrated -- greeted you was in qatar a few years ago. i have really two comments and i need your input in this. first one is that israel, under the help of the united states, is pursuing a policy of racism. i just heard george mitchell
yesterday talking about the jewishness of israel. that is pure racism. and this has been expelled first by a second-rate president of the united states, george w. bush, when he called it the jewish state, and ever since have been repeated. the second thing is that israel has been conducting a policy of armed robbery ever since it was created and it has become ice -- isolated in the world with the exception of the united states. how can we spell out this armed robbery notion to the world, everywhere, because this is
essential. thank you. >> maybe one more question. we really are out of time. yes, sir. >> my name is sama chatterly from safe foundation. you mentioned that from 1967 you've been asking the united states for help to resolve this with the assumption that the united states was a kind of a mediator or a disinterested mediator but that was not true. wouldn't it have been better if, as palestinians, you were in a situation like syria, at least have the protection of the russians who say any resolution in the security council against syria would be vetoed, or, for that matter, with india and pakistan were in conflict, united states was blindly
supporting pakistan and soviet union was supporting india and that's how india was able to get the upper hand so wouldn't it be better for you to look for somebody like russia, china, whoever is willing to back you far better than just verbal support that you are getting from the united states and a run-around for all these years. from 1967 to now, i mean, this is one problem which has lingered on for too long and it is really sad that the united states have been able to bluff everybody and still continues to veto just resolutions in the security council. >> thank you. i agree. i'm sorry, i didn't get your name from i.m.f.? >> samar chatergy. >> osama, thank you very much.
i'm so glad that you read my poetry. it means a lot to me because i believe you need poetry to deal with the situation. nonviolence, as far as i'm concerned, has always been the most effective means and we use that as you very well know and i've been involved and i be involved because there are many ways of expressing resistance by nonviolent means in which the human spirit is paramount, chch in which you have the moral high ground and expose and defy power and militarism and expose the limits of power and military occupation, not by adopting their means. and i really think that we can religga myself and re-energize the nonviolent movement in palestine which has been going on for years now, as you know,
in jerusalem and so on, there are constant nonviolent protests faced with extreme violence and many internationals and americans were injured and killed. a young woman wrote a song, i forget her change. she lost an eye at the checkpoint protesting against the treatment of the palestinians and then she got no protection even from her own government but she wrote a beautiful song, an eye for palestine or something, but there are many people of good conscience who have joined us in nonviolent resistance. i certainly will continue to be engaged in it. after september, i think we cannot give up. i mean, we have to continue, we have to pursue alternate means.
we talked about going to the international community, holding israel accountable, working within a new arab consensus and so on, trying to articulate a new political agenda but if all these efforts are thwarted, you cannot control everybody and everything. you cannot keep using the same means if nobody reacts positively to you or listens to you. the other side when the occupation is by definition violent, very violent, because you have to use violence to oppress a whole people. we are a captive nation. when you're facing it with nonviolence, if you produce results, if you expose it the way we did before, then that's fine, people see results. but if you don't, then people start picking up the same attitude as their oppressor, the same means. and this is where you begin to lose, unfortunately. but you do not control all the elements and you do the nocontrol how -- do not control how everybody reacts.
you have to constantly explain, you have to mobilize, you have to show that you're there and show results, that's what's works. landham, thank you very much, you have always been a great advocate of justice and peace and a just peace and should acknowledge your efforts. for decades you've stood up and spoken out. now, the question of the jewishness of israel. this is a new precondition. we were never asked throughout our negotiations, i don't remember ever being told you have to recognize the jewishness of the state of israel, or israel as a jewish state. we were asked to recognize israel. 1994, in the exchange of letters between yasser arafat and rabine, we accepted the two-state solution and
recognized the state of israel. generally you recognize states. and israel recognizes the p.l.o., not palestine, they recognize the p.l.o. as the legitimate representative of the palestinian people so that was a condition that was met. and then suddenly netanyahu is the person who came up with the idea that if the palestinians do not recognize the jewishness of the state, it means they want to destroy, they don't recognize the state but we have recognized the state. that's the point. i don't see any other country that asks for the ethnic or religious character of the state to be mentioned in a legal or political recognition except maybe iran, right? >> i'm not sure even that. >> islamic republic. >> that is part of the name. >> that's part of the name. that's not part of israel's name. so this is unique.
now, we, as palestinians, i told you, we've been struggling for a tolerant, pluralistic, inclusive democracy. israel is the only country in the world that if you say it's a state for its citizens, you're accused of being a traitor. what is a state for? for all its noncitizens or the americans and -- if israel doesn't want to be a state for its citizens, then it has to say so, because there are nonjewish citizens. you cannot be exclusive. the palestinians have been there for centuries before the creation of the state of israel. you can't nullify them. you can't negate their presence. you can't say if you're not jewish, you have no rights which is which lieberman is saying now, he wants to expel palestinians from the state of as from the west bank and there are voices now
calling for gaza and egypt and the west bank into jordan and so on. there are all sorts of other-worldly solutions being presented based on racism. that will not work. anything that is based on exclusivity and racism and discrimination will not work. you have to accept the fact that we live in a world that does not close up itself and that does accept the other and that does recognize that we are not all monolithic and one character and one type and one ethnic group and one religion and so on. that's it. now, we say, to us, as palestinians, this is negation of our history, negation of the rights of non-jewish palestinians in israel and it's the negation of the right of return of the palestinian people whose narrative has to be acknowledged as well as their rights. but i doubt whether obama or
anybody else would ever use the term, let's say, this is the christian united states of america, or ask us to recognize the muslim kingdom of jordan or whatever. nobody would do that for any other nation. the exceptionalism of israel is something that will eventually backfire. israel has to be treated like a country like other countries. it cannot constantly be the exception with a sense of entitlement, with a sense of special consideration. once it becomes a state like other states, maybe it will relax and interact with the region as an equal, not as a dominating power. let's say the issue of land confiscation and land theft, yes, settlements are based on land theft. they have taken other people's lands. the thing is israel also defines state land as belonging to the israeli state not state land as
belonging to the palestinian people for whom the land should be used for their own benefit. and they show 1967. we didn't ask the u.s. for help. the u.s. is the only country that supposedly israel listens to but now we know better. it's the other way around. the u.s., during the cold war, of course, we tried very hard not to take sides. we were always under occupation as you know since 19be -- 1967 so we couldn't say, o.k., we want to be a satellite of the soviet union, we just wanted the international community to end the occupation on the basis of legality and justice. that's all we want. unfortunately, now, with the money on polar world since the dissolution of the soviet union,
you have one power, you have the u.s., and the u.s. has adopted a policy since 1991, even before they tried to find a solution, a policy of ending the conflict and bringing about peace to the region and so far they have failed. look, when i said years ago, i hate to repeat myself, but i'm quoting myself. the worst thing a professor can do. i said that by no stretch of the imagination can you ever accuse the u.s. of being even-handed, never. we know there's a strategic alliance with israel. if you heard obama's speech, you know. this is long-standing policy and so on but when the issue of the oldest lip service and effusion of support and some to the point where it becomes nauseous, when the chips are down, ultimately
every country will look out for its own interests. israel is becoming a liability for everybody. to itself, even. the occupation is a liability. the blindness to the needs and rights of people around and the palestinian rights is going to backfire, it's going to draw the whole region and cost the u.s. a great deal. last year we talked about how the american military was saying that israel is a liability in sense that what it does reflects on the u.s. so it cannot constantly do things and use this alliance with the u.s. to cover its illegal acts and violations and i think it's up to the u.s. to decide sooner or later, where it's real interests lie in the
long run rather than just appeasing and accommodating israel. we're not askingfor support. we're asking for implementation of the law. we are asking for justice. we will go wherever it is needed. would you don't want to be part of any alliance or whatever. we have a cause with its own integrity based on justice and legality. that is what we want. lots of people are seeing this and in support of it in europe, latin america, and so on. there will be a change. i have been coming here since i was a student. you keep pushing the rock uphill and it keeps coming down. you have to keep trying because ultimately, you cannot rely on the ignorance of people.
ignorance is easily dispelled. thank you. [applause] >> all this memorial day weekend on c-span, we are bringing in several commencement addresses from around the country, starting with the michigan governor speaking to students at his alma mater. then we will have to boulder to hear remarks from chipotle founder steve ells. then we will hear from curtis carlson, an hdtv developer. after that, the national urban league president delivers his commencement address to students at howard university in washington, d.c.
he talked about his family's legacy while urging students to commit themselves to excellence and equality. you can see that speech today at 4:00 here on c-span. we go now to ann arbor michigan, to hear the commencement address by governor rick snyder. he attended the university of michigan and spoke to students about his experiences there and the professional goals he set for himself. this is 20 minutes. >> today, i am going to talk about my experiences at the university of michigan and deal with the question i want to share with you. what is the in university of michigan a leader at and what does it mean to all of us? this is just a personal opinion.
i want to make that clear. let me start with my experience as a student at the university of michigan. i have only had one other opportunity to come to university of michigan when i was seven or eight years old. the next mccain, it was thanksgiving week of 1975. i came up to go to the office of admissions to the next time i came up, it was thanksgiving week of 1975. i had a meeting with the associate director and told him my story about growing up in a small town in battle creek in a 900 square foot house, having the opportunity to start community college when i was 16 and the dreams i have for my future. in that meeting, he looked at me and said, you need to start at the university of michigan in january. you should leave high school and come here. he said we have the perfect degree to fit your dream.
the bachelor's of general studies degree. you can build your own degree. i went back to my parents. we were all amazed and surprised. it was time to go to the university of michigan. i showed up in january of 1976 at the university of michigan. to put into perspective for you, i would probably be at the far end of being the least worldly person to show up at the university of michigan. i had fabulous parents, but i did not have a lot of opportunity. to give you a point of reference, the first week i was there, a number of friends i had met said let's go get a fre ragle. we went to the bagel factory and i had my first fragel. i had never even had a bagel. i did not know what a bagel was.
the next step was the room in a situation. quad. a triple in west squa as a disclaimer, i will remind you that this was 1976. i hope the university people will still talk to me after the speech. i had two roommates. one was a junior. within a month after the start of the term, he managed to get himself kicked out of university housing for a lack of social and moral behavior. [laughter] that is the nice way to put it. the other roommate was a freshman studying engineering. i am convinced he only made it through the first year because engineering was not his passion and love. his true passion and love was bought me. that was based on the fact that
he had a significant plantation in our room. [laughter] so you can see this green kid from battle creek who had not even turned 18 yet had these two wonderful roommates. i almost did not make it. one thing that helped me make it was one thing he would only find at the university of michigan. i had a work-study opportunity. i found a job. that job was at the institute of social research. it was a job for a graduate student to do research. but somehow i managed to get it. it was because the people of the institute working on the survey of consumer confidence that gave me the fortitude and dedication to survive the first semester.
i got through it. from there, it was a much more positive experience. my years were amazing. i had opportunities to do things you could not do it other schools. to get those three degrees, during the past to get those three degrees, i had the chance to be a research assistant and government research and accounting. i had an opportunity to do a research project that became an article that i offered with -- authored with one of the great professors at the university. when i told my parents i had written an article, it was something they could not read because it was in the best seller, "the journal of business communications." other experiences were a part of growth. i recognized i wanted to learn from people and do more with people.
i literally became a resident adviser in berkeley. i had a freshman floor that was a lot of fun. that was quite an experience. i had an opportunity to be an instructor in the business school and a t.a. i literally had my own class. i do not think they do this anymore. when i got the position of instructor, they just handed me the book and told the class started in a few months and good luck. i got through those experiences. they helped me to grow. they were fabulous expenses. by the time i got my last year at the university, i was living off campus. i was teaching. i had a lot parking pass -- blue lot parking pass, a private office in the business school, and best of all, and hopefully this will not get me in trouble.
i had tickets on the 50 yard line back in. the students used to go to the 50 back in those days. i am still trying to achieve seats as good as the ones i had back in the early 1980's. it was a fabulous experience of growth. let me give you my view on what the u of m is a world leader at. it is ranked high in more departments than probably any other institution in the world. [applause] there is an issue that we do not rank number one that often. we're probably by far the best number two school on all the ratings of any place in the world. usually the criticism is -- and the reason we're not no. 1 when you go behind the ratings is
because they will tell you that we're too big. we are too large. we do not have the different degree of attention that the small, exclusive schools offer. i would say to you that too often we spend time thinking how we can be like them and being apologetic for that. that is absolutely backward. the true uniqueness is the intersection of being among the best in the world and so many fields while having an environment to where you can build your own path through so many of them. our strength is our breadth and size. we need to stop being defensive about our size and start being proud of it. the simple answer for the university of michigan about what we're best at is that we are the university of explorers. if you look up the definition of
explorers, it is someone who travels into unfamiliar or unknown regions, especially for organized scientific purposes. i believe that is what brought us here. there's no place in the world that can match the university of michigan. it is the spirit of exploration that brought us here. we need to start promoting our size as the power of what we still continue to be the best in individual departments and the great student experience. let's be proud of our size. let's be the best. in terms of individuals alike to now speak to the graduates about what that means to you and the opportunities you have. you are explorers. when you have been exploring at the university of michigan, it was straightforward. your mission was to graduate.
you have achieved that fabulous gold today. the next thing is that you need a mission for the future. what is the mission for your life? there is no right or wrong answer. there is no specific time when you need to have that answer. some may have it today. others may not find it for some years. there are triggers that will help you get there. we have heard the stories many times. it can be your parents. it can be mentors in your life. i have many fabulous mentors. it can be opportunities. it can also be crisis. as you travel from the stadium, ask yourself what is your mission. to put into perspective, i had a mission that i will share with you briefly. i was fortunate.
i developed my mission when i was a teenager. my mission in terms of the opening goal is to make the world a better place and to say that i added value. in terms of specifics, i defined three careers they wanted to experience in my lifetime. the first career was to go into the private sector, to go into business. why did i choose that? there are three key goals. one, i wanted to financially be able to take care of my family and hopefully have the resources to go and do other things. the second one was to help people, to say what products and services could add value. the last one was to have fun. if you have fun at what you are doing and enjoy what you are doing, you are simply going to be better at it. that was to be from age 20 something up to 50 or 60.
the second career was about public service. it was to drop the goal of making money and having financial security. i had achieved that, hopefully. it was to focus on helping people and having fun. i did not know what that would be. the opportunity arose to run for governor. we were a broken state. there was an opportunity to reinvent our state. i thought i could do many things, but this opportunity was there. it was time to seize the opportunity as a way to give back to the citizens of our state. the having fun part is not really true today. but when i say in that context is that it is not about laughs and enjoyment when you have to make tough decisions, it is about there being satisfaction
in doing the right thing and hopefully making our state a better place. i have a third career that i plan to go after when i am done with public service. that is to teach. i want to give back on a smaller scale as an opportunity to help people and have fun. i actually planned for this career and my teenage days. when i finished at the university of michigan after i got my third degree, i was asked to come back and teach. when i was 24, i was an adjunct assistant professor teaching a class in the mba program. i love teaching, but the other part is i thought i could use that as a credential to prove to people when on the 60 that i was competent to teach. this career plan has been
fabulous. it is still challenging as you all know. in terms of my mission, it has worked well, except that i overlooked one major facet of life when i did this career plan. it was the personal side of life. to be blunt, i was a workaholic. many people still think i am. it is nothing like i was when i finished school. how did i solve the problem? i got help. the help i got was my fabulous wife, sue. she showed me that there is more to life than simply working. we have been happily married for over 20 years. there is another wonderful part to the. that is the three children we have. children are a special thing in your life that are more important than anything.
i can also tell you that it helped to put life in perspective more than anything, especially when they were young. when you come home from work and you can say you have the best or worst day of your professional life. when you walk in the door, they did not care. it was about them, and that was the right answer. by having great kids like that, it made me a better person. i am proud to say that melissa is a sophomore here now. [applause] in terms of summarizing this kind of analysis about being an explorer on a mission, the problem becomes that when you give the commencement address, the average half-life of the commencement address in terms of retention is typically days to a matter of hours. an increasingly add
world. i want to give you a phrase. it is a phrase that you know so well and will remember the rest of your live with pride. the leaders part is easy. just being here means you are an explorer. the key is finding the mission in life. keep it simple. set a few milestones. but to be a leader is a simple mathematical equation. explorer plus mission equals leader. the other part of the phrase is the challenging 1 -- "the best."
too often, "the best" is misunderstood. it is not about having an attitude of superiority. it is not about being arrogant. what it really means is it is about giving your best. to give your best effort and do it in a certain way. that is to do it in a positive fashion, a forward-looking fashion and one where you work to have people win together and solve problems in the world. is not about blame or credit. it is about giving your all in making a difference in people's lives. of the two phrases, i can tell you that if you are a leader and you have a mission, do not worry about getting the mission entirely done. that may not be possible.
but if you continue to give the best and tried to make that happen, by giving your best, you will be a stalwart among the leaders and best. take that into the light. congratulations to you. god bless, and go blue. [applause] >> later today, remarks from supreme court justice samuel alito on supreme court practices and traditions. he said that preparations for cases often involve reading over 500 pages or more of legal briefs and documents. he spoke recently at a bar association of st. louis luncheon. you can see his comments today span.00 here on eastc-
tomorrow on washington journal, the political editor and the founder and editor of thinkprogress.org discuss politics and the political race. sheila krumholz talks about the political action committees that could impact the 2012 election. "washington journal" is live at 7:00 eastern on c-span. >> people often say to me, how much of your time you spend writing and doing research? that is a great question. nobody ever says, how much of your time do you spend thinking? that is probably the most important part. >> in part two of the interview with david mccullough, his
writing process and greatest, -- latest, "the greater journey." you can download this as a podcast online. all this weekend on c-span, commencement addresses. we will now have to the university of colorado at boulder to hear from steve ells. after that, remarks from curtis carlson, the head of silicon valley firm. then, the national urban league president gives his commencement address to graduates at howard university in washington d.c.. [applause] the chipotle founder talked to students at the university of colorado at boulder. we will hear it now from the chancellor of the university who
introduces mr. ells. >> today he is the founder, chairman, and co-chief executive officer of chipotle mexican grill. he opened the first one in denver in 1993. today with 1100 restaurants, he is changing the way people think about and eat fast for his commitment to sustainable agriculture and locally grown produce. he has received considerable praise for this vision and leadership. "newsweek" called him an environmental champion. he has been profiled by "time," "forbes,""the wall street journal." chipotle has posted the highest
public return of any public offering since 2000 poll. sustainable business has named it one of the world's top 20 sustainable stocks. jim cramer of "madeleine" says it has the best management team in the region of "mad money" says it has the best management team. most recently, steve starred in the nbc reality show "america's next great restaurant," research as a judge and investor to help someone else's concept come to live. it is my pleasure to introduce to you steve ells. [applause] >> thank you, chancellor.
thank you to the senior class counsel for asking me to be here today. president benson, friends, family, and most of all, the class of 2011, congratulations. [cheers and applause] i was kind of panicking about what to say when i was thinking about the speech. that is unusual for me. i have to be in public and do these kinds of speeches a lot. i have had to get used to not being afraid of being in the spotlight he talked about this in b.c. reality show. when you think about the ratings, maybe it is not the spotlight. anyway, i was struggling with what to say. after giving it a lot of thought, the idea that kept coming to me was the "service." i am thinking of service in broad terms. somethingt of finding with i
within yourself the care deeply about and then sharing it with others. this is my advice to you. find out how you conserve others while doing what you love. it turns out that serving others is where it is that in this life. it feels good and is the right thing to do. it is the best way to ensure that you have a great career and make a great living. i think it is a pretty good definition of success, serving others while doing what you love. each one of you has qualities that no one else has come interests no one else has, and ideas that are uniquely your own. you have things you really like to do. i am here to tell you that the world desperately needs you to share your special qualities, interests, and ideas. at this point, you may not know how these particular qualities or interests will ever be useful in the service of others. that is okay. when i was sitting where you
are, neither did die. my story may be a useful example. i need to tell you i did not start out thinking this way. it was a lot simpler than that. i just loved to cook. i really loved it. i loved everything about the kitchen. even when i was a little kid, i remember trying to master my technique for making scrambled eggs when - 7. later on in grade school, i started watching cooking shows a lot, including julia childs. she was probably my favorite. i tried to replicate the recipes. later in high school and college, i started posting to the parties -- hosting dinner parties. i would invite friends over and cook deleverage meals. it was fun and helped me to get better at what i loved doing. it also allowed me to meet some of the most important people in my life. just recently, one of these people pointed out to me that i was not just throwing dinner
parties. he pointed out that i was a man on a mission. i was totally a obsessed with showing people it perfect dining experience -- or at least my interpretation of a perfect dining experience. i remember at one of these dinner parties, it was kind of funny. we went shopping together to buy the ingredients. we were making a caesar salad. this was 25 years ago. it was kind of a cool thing to make. even though we were only having a few people over, i was standing there in the produce aisle and filling up the shopping cart with heads of romaine lettuce. he asked what i need all the lettuce for because we were only going to have a few people over. we were only going to use the center, the very perfect part. i could not afford it at the time. it was silly. he freaked out and did not get what i was doing. these of the links -- these are
that i would go to because i was obsess with having the food be as perfect as it could be. to this day, i do not like to see people eat bad food. it tears me up like fingernails on a chalkboard. i would obsess for hours and hours about the upcoming deals for the dinner parties. i would search local markets and find the best ingredients. i researched recipes. i spent hours and hours in the kitchen prepping. when people came over, i would swing into action. i was so busy through dinner that i wanted to socialize with my guests or i would not enjoy the food. i would not get to sit down. but you know what? i was an absolute heaven -- in absolute heaven. i had done all the work. i have spent all my money. i had gotten to eat only a small amount of the food. then i was left with the dirty dishes, but i was the happiest person in the room.
it gave me a sense of well- being. all i could think about was when i was going to do it again, what i was going to cook, and how i could make it even better next time. what does that tell you? it tells you that the one giving the most is often the most satisfied. i told you that serving others can lead to a great career. it is not always present itself in an obvious way. you know that i started chipotle. in retrospect, it seems my life followed a clear path. but i had no idea it would all turn out like this. i was just living life. i have no idea this passion of mine had anything to do with my professional future. even when i chose to go to cooking school, i have no goal of starting a restaurant let alone a chain. i just wanted to know more about cooking.
i think that my dad, sitting with us in the stands, was concerned. here was his oldest son that had just graduated and was now going to do his postgraduate work in the kitchen. back then, it was not an obvious recipe for financial freedom. that was important for him to see me have. after cooking school, and went to work in one of the great restaurants at the time. it was in san francisco. after a couple of years there, i decided i wanted to start a restaurant of my own. i knew that restaurants acquired a sizable investment and often failed. i needed to provide a revenue stream for this restaurant i did. i thought i would open up a little burrito restaurant based on the top three is -- taq uarias i have experience in san
francisco. i decided to call it chipotle mexican rul grill. i remember describing to my friends would look like and the vibe it would create. i went into excruciating detail for all of the menu items. i was not going to use canned beans. i was going to buy a beautiful black beans and cook them from scratch. to do that, i would buy the best fresh oregano and chop it up just so. i would cook cumin seeds and grind them with a pestle and then simmer it with the beans for hours until they were perfectly tender. i wanted to elevate everything on the menu, including the hu mble black bean.
they said that most people would not know the difference. remember that i was a man on a mission. i did not care if they could tell the difference. i wanted everybody to eat great food. it was more important to me than anything else. i think that is where you find the dissatisfaction -- find the deepest satisfaction. when you set out to serve others and care more about what you are providing than they do. i think everybody has the capacity to do that. everybody has the ability to create something special and give something extraordinary. in turn, you can turn people on to new ideas. as chipotle group, we began buying a lot of food. i became increasingly curious about where the food was coming from and how it was being raised. i started visiting farmers and ranchers and tried to understand how they were raising
their food. that is when i started seeing much of the food system in this country is really based on exploitation. i was totally uncomfortable was serving this food-transe -- with serving this food at my restaurants. what was transformed to for me is when i saw how pork was raised. most pigs are being raised on factory farms. they are being raised in confinement in awful conditions. in that environment, there is exploitation on so many levels. the welfare of the animal is totally disregarded. so many antibiotics are being used that resistant strains and diseases are becoming a big problem. independent family farms are being displaced. the consumers are tacitly buying into the system. we said that we did not want our success to be based on the kind of exploitation.
i worked with a co-op of family farmers in iowa who were raising pigs the right way. the round outside -- dave were allowed outside and were not that antibiotics. they became suppliers. chipotl able to supply to pl e with all of this report. it costs more, but the benefit and quality far outweighed the costs. our customers noticed the difference. this led us on a journey to find the best ingredients for all of our food. we called this journey "food with integrity." you all might note of the formearmer featured in the book, "the omnivores' dilemma." he is a supplier and has become
a friend over the years. i visited him a couple of weeks ago. what i find amazing about joel is that he is raising delicious pork, beef, and chicken, but he is doing in a way that leaves the land in better condition than he found it. he does it in a way that shows respect for the animals that he raises. he has respect for the customers he sells his meat to. he really cares about them. he has a beautiful farm he will be able to pass on to his kids and grandkids. he is serving others while doing what he loves. he has been an inspiration to me to go out and find more farmers dedicated to feeding people food raised with the same kind of care in a sustainable way. now is totally fulfilling for us to look at every ingredient on our menu and make sure it is something that we are proud of. what is really great about this
is that our customers due notice. they can tell the difference. i think that is the lesson i learned. it is incredibly fulfilling to serve others while doing what you love. what about you? what do you care about more than anything else? how can you apply your passion to the service of others? each of you has exceptional skills or talents. some that you learned here and some that helped the you in -- help you to get in in the first place. these talents and skills not seen profound to you today, but i promise that you could -- that they can set you apart. if you make service your journey, one of the results will be personal success. ialreat career and financ six success. but the most important thing is that you will have a positive
effect on others. you will feel a sense of the fulfillment as one who has given of yourself, one who has left things a little better than you found them. graduates are often told to think about their future in terms of what the world needs. that is a great way to look at it. the world needs a lot of things. so many that can be overwhelming. what the world needs most is passionate people who serve others. it needs people who do it in a way that does not come at the expense of other people, our land, or our morals. if we get enough people doing that, everything falls into place. that is for you and the world. thank you for letting me be part of this special day. congratulations to the university of colorado graduating class of 2011. [applause]
[cheers and applause] >> in a few moments, we will continue showing you commencement addresses from across the country. next, comments from curtis carlson at the university of richmond. he is the developer of american high-definition tv standards. later, the national urban league president gives his address to the students at howard university. finally, the mountain climber, the only blind person to climb the tallest peak on each of the seven continents. sunday, the oklahoma senator discusses how congress is addressing the debt issue and how both parties might reach an agreement on how to cut spending. he is interviewed by the war in montgomery and andrew taylor. -- laurie montgomery an
entertainer. all this memorial day weekend, commencement addresses at 3:00 and 10:00 p.m. eastern. sunday, we will begin with an address by marco rubio in naples, florida. after that, michael bloomberg speaks to students at george washington university. it all gets underway at 3:00 p.m. on sunday. [cheers and applause] >> curtis carlson is the developer of american high- definition tv standards. he has helped to found more than 12 companies. he is the founder and president of the non-profit tv research institute. he gave the commencement address at the university of richmond. this is 20 minutes. >> today, i have the honor of welcoming the commencement speaker for the university of richmond class of 2011. dr. curtis carlson. you may not have thought of this, but every time you turn on
your tv to watch the super bowl, your mother's favorite soap opera, or the season finale in high-definition, if you need to think one man for the high- quality image on your screen. trust me, it is not charlie sheen. the man you are to think is dr. curtis carlson. he won emmy awards for leading the development of the american h.d. tv broadcast standard and optimizing qualities. as an expert on innovation and competitiveness, he has founded more than 12 companies. he is currently chairman, ceo, of sriesident p international, an independent, nonprofit research institute.
president barack obama appointed him to the presidential task force on research and development of the institute. dr. cross and advises government leaders around the world on innovation, competitiveness, and educational reform. his book of " innovation: the five disciplines for creating what customers want" was published in 2006. it made the top 10 books of that year in "business week." in addition, dr. carlson is a founding member of the leadership council of the world economic forum. he holds honorary degrees from three universities. he received professional achievement awards from two.
he has served on numerous corporate and governmental boards and advisory councils. he was a member of the original team that helped create the army federated laboratories. his passion for innovation and education is something that we admire. the world is changing every day technologically, politically, and socially. we are reminded of the importance of education, leadership, and constant innovation for future generations. the class of 2001, please join me in welcoming our speaker, dr. curtis carlson. [applause] >> thank you. that was very generous.
he gave me more credit than i deserve. everything i have done in my career has been done with great colleagues and teammates. that is what i am about to talk about, the importance of working with wonderful people who are passionate about what they're interested in and making a difference in the world. thank you for having me here. it is a pleasure to celebrate this important event which you -- with you, the graduates, family, friends, and the dedicated faculty. this wonderful occasion marks the culmination of much hard work and achievement. today also marks the beginning of new dreams and endeavors. you may wonder why the head of the research enterprise in silicon valley is talking to you today. over your careers, because of the exciting but challenging world that you are entering, you will likely work with things
that have more to do with silicon valley than they have in the past. i am here to share perspective that i hope helps you to achieve your dreams and allows you to drive in a world of abundant opportunities. first, let me say, have a mother's day and congratulations. congratulations to our graduates and congratulations to your loved ones. i am impressed that 20% of you are first generation graduates. that was true of me, too. i did not start in silicon valley. i grew up in a modest home in an industrial park in rhode island. behind our home is a four-lane turnpike. the front of our home base loading docks of a brewery. fortunately, my father played the violin. he taught me to play. that was my first drink. i became a professional at 15. -- that was my first dream.
i became a professional at 15. by friends were going to college. because of them, college became the second dream. it is too late to think my grandfather, but it is not too late for me to thank those who helped to achieve the college degree. few accomplishments are achieved alone. graduates, please make sure you think all of those who supported you, your parents, family, friends, professors, and mentors. everyone who believed in you and help you to get to this great day. please tell them that you love them and give them the really big hug. your appreciation means the world to them. after all, they love you. [applause] in the future, make sure that you return the favor.
be a friend, a teacher, or a mentor to help someone else achieve his or her dream. you know from your own experience how powerful that help can be when someone believes in you even before you know what you are trying to achieve this possible. the student government leaders said that richmond has kicked me out of my comfort zone. it has pushed me to strive for constant excellence rather than staying in the status quo. that is just right. today, i would respectfully like to push it further. i will start by sharing what i tell all the people who joined my organization. we have learned that there are few principles that really matter and they apply to any field you may enter.
first, work on big important problems that you are passionate about. making a difference in the world is a powerful motivator. fortunately for you, we live in a world of unlimited possibilities. there are an unlimited number of important needs to be addressed such as health care, clean energy, economic development, and k through 12 education. consider that in detroit, only about 25% of the boys graduate from high school. this is a national tragedy. some of you have the opportunity to help address it. second, the solutions to problems in today's economy come mostly from ideas and creativity. ideas and creativity, unlike natural resources, are an unlimited resources. many of the best ideas in the future will come from you.
it is a world of abundance only for those who can see the opportunities ahead and have the skills to take advantage of them. without these skills, it can seem like a world of scarcity. innovation is the only way we're going to solve the world's major issues of growth, prosperity, environmental sustainability, and security. the way to take advantage of the opportunities is to learn all you can about innovation and how to create value for others. the other path in today's world is just too risky. the world is moving so fast. it is so competitive that we must all learn how to add value to whatever we do. if we do not, the world will quickly pass us by. as a result, the ability to creatively innovate has become one of the most important skills that you can possess. what is innovation? why is it important to you?
innovation is the transformation of a novel idea into something people want. it is not just a clever idea. it is not just an invention. people have to actually use or experience what you have created. it is about making a positive difference for others. in today's world, that will be your job. whatever you do, creating new value for people to use or experience. innovation is not only about new products or services. those of you who studied history, anthropology, dance, or writing want to make important contributions, too. there's ample room for innovation in every field. consider picasso. he was a famous artist, but he was also an innovator because he created an enormous new value for the world. he literally transformed how we think about art. in the process, he created a
large market for his art as well. consider your own university of richmond. the university has pioneered a global, cross-disciplinary curriculum to prepare you for this world. this is also an innovation, a brilliant one, in my view. it best prepares you to be creative innovators. earlier i mentioned one of the most important skills, identifying it and working on important problems and not just those that interesting. after all, if what you are working on does not matter to anyone, you cannot possibly make an impact. you are just putting in time. always go for the big opportunities. these of the ones that will teach to the most and allow you to make a contribution. do not say no, even if an opportunity scares' you to death. that has happened to all of us. last night i have supper with
ne and several ofi your professors. the governor said it is usually the opportunities that you do not do that you end up regretting. i cannot tell you how true that is. if an opportunity comes your way, please grab it. step up and welcome the new opportunities. fortunately, challenging important problems almost always turns out to be the most interesting and fun. work hard at them. what are some of the additional skills you are going to need? the good news is you are university has already given you many of the most critical ones. already, he had taken interdisciplinary academic programs, participated in international studies, and worked with fellow students from around the world. yesterday to innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership. you have studied innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership. you have collaborated with students from diverse
backgrounds to solve problems. this is a perfect foundation for the world we're in. one question i am often asked is, but how to take the next step? how to go from where i am today to making a significant contribution? being a creative innovator starts but always looking for opportunities to make a difference, to add value. this perspective is very powerful. it comes from asking, how can i make this better? how can i contribute something more? it starts with a desire to achieve something important. if you are not driven to do something significant in something you are passionate about, your chance of success is very small. in my experience, it is essentially zero. next, at least one person who shares your vision and passion. working alone is too hard.
you need someone to question your ideas and out of their ideas and provide emotional support. you may have heard the expression that unique point of view can be worth an extra 80 i.q. points. that is what you want from your body, someone who has perspectives that are different from yours that add unique value. then write down your ideas. we say that if it is not written down, it is not real. use words, draw pictures, make models. use whatever you can to bring your ideas to life. show it to everybody around you to collect their extra 80 i.q. points. there's magic in this. very few take advantage of all the surrounds them. in my company, this is how we start creating one new world changing innovation after another. new cancer drugs to high- definition television, too novel ways to capture co2 from the
atmosphere. sure you will encounter obstacles. all this bill at first, many times. -- all of us fail at first, many times. in silicon valley, we see failure as the important first up. it is the only way you can learn. in the beginning, you have not done your homework. you never know enough to start. if you fail, understand why. you have learned something. the next time, you will do it differently and better. writers, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs -- they all fail many times before they succeed. the key is to persevere until you deeply understand everything you need to know to solve your problem. in silicon valley, we say step fast to succeed early. make it go as fast as you can. learning how to create value for others inevitably turns you into one of the most valuable people
in your field. whether you become an artist, a volunteer to help aids sufferers in africa, pursue research, start a new company, or practice law. silicon valley is an innovation hub of only about 2 million people. it is where you find the headquarters of google, facebook, apple, and hundreds of small start-ups, the google's of tomorrow. what makes this possible? what makes silicon valley so special? first, it is a meritocracy. what matters and what other regions of the country are trying to icopy are focusing on the highest levels of achievement. silicon valley is about making the world a better place. what matters is whether or not you have the skills, and values, and passion to make a serious
contribution. what matters most is what you can do, what you can achieve. it is not where you came from, not a religion, not your finances, and certainly not politics. what matters is your ethics and how you can work productively with others to solve the important problems. in silicon valley, being from somewhere else is an advantage. more than 50% of the presidents in silicon valley have come from india or china alone. these leaders have the advantage of thinking globally, speaking another language, and having a deep appreciation for different regions and cultures. in my organization, an incredibly large percentage of our staff have grown up outside the united states in france, russia, israel, china, japan, india, and elsewhere -- just like your class. america really is the land of
opportunity -- if you have the right values, perspectives, and skills. more than 60% of your class has studied abroad leading " newsweeklies " to describe university of richmond as the hottest school for international education. but for you. that is what you want. that is perfect. -- good for you. to create lasting value, everyone needs to be a creative innovator. if you do, analyst guarantee you will perform meaningful work -- i can almost guarantee you will perform meaningful work and in skills that will last a lifetime. it will allow you to thrive as a creator and not just a worker. with your excellent education at the university of richmond, you are well prepared to add these additional creation value skills. they're not magic. they can be learned just like all the subjects at the university. read everything you can about creativity and innovation.
study and talk to all who have achieved something special. learn as much as you can from everyone that you run into. whatever field you are pursuing, in reathe arts, starting businesses, teaching the next generation of students, or improving the quality of life for millions around the world, you can acquire the innovative skills that will assure success. you have taken the first step by obtaining your degree. you enter the world with the knowledge and personal attributes to tackle the world's abundant opportunities. the famous anthropologist margaret mead summed it up when she said, "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world." indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. never doubt that a small group of people, thoughtful, committed
people, contains the world. indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. these are powerful words. i have experienced the universal truth of these words dozens of times in my career and in various organizations where people of diverse backgrounds are pursuing very different goals. you can, too. remember, tackle biglearn all yt innovation and how to create a value for others. years from now, when you look back, i predict he will have made a positive and lasting contribution to the world. you will have had a lot of fun. finally, thank your family and supporters and give them that great big hug. i thank you for letting me share your celebration today. congratulations. i wish you all be very best.
go fighters. [applause] >> c-span continues its commencement coverage with comments from national urban league president marc morial. he delivered his speech to students at howard university in washington, d.c. this is 25 minutes. >> thank you for your pages. -- your patience. let's hear a few words. >> to chairman barry rand, president sidney ribeau, the trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, and the greater howard bison community, i say good morning, thank you and
congratulations. i also wish to thank and congratulate my fellow honorary degree recipients, thomas l. friedman, dr. evelyn brooks higginbotham and dr. john brooks slaughter, for having been recognized for a lifetime of exemplary service and accomplishment. please join me in offering them another warm round of applause. [applause] on behalf of the national urban league and its 98 affiliates, among whose leadership past and present count hundreds of howard university alumni, including the very distinguished vernon jordon.
we also offer our congratulations to the entire howard university community. like howard, the national urban league shares an historic mission, and this year i am proud that our state of black america town hall took place right here on howard university's campus, in cramton auditorium. thank you, dr. ribeau, thank you, howard university. to the class of 2011, whether you are graduating summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude, or thank you laude, i say, this is the day that the lord has made.
let us be glad and rejoice in it, and give yourselves the warmest, loudest, bison congratulations that you can let out. [cheers and applause] class of 2011, i know i am standing between you and your degrees. so i promise you, i will be brief and i will be seated. but it does remind me of a little story. i met a woman many years ago when i was practicing law, who walked into my office and wanted help in drafting a prenuptial agreement, as she prepared to marry for the fourth time.
as she was nearing 80 years of age, i asked her, please tell me just a little bit about your first three husbands before you tell me about the fourth, because i really need to know what assets you bring to this marriage. she said that when she was in her 20s, she married a wealthy real estate developer and they owned several homes a home in colorado, a home on the eastern shore of maryland, and townhouses in new york, washington and miami. then suddenly, he died and she inherited a small fortune. then she met a struggling actor a debonair ladies' man who was also an aspiring musician. they lived in hollywood, they went to the grammys, the tonys
and the oscars. as he achieved success, they traveled the world, and he ran off with another woman. later in life, she changed course and married a minister. she spent those years attending prayer meetings and revivals and being a dutiful first lady of the church, sitting in the front pew every sunday. and now, as she neared 80, she had chosen an undertaker. [laughter] i said, you've had all these wonderful life experiences - why would you choose to marry
an undertaker? she said i chose one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go. the good book teaches us that there is a time and season for everything a time for the money, at time for the show, a time to prepare and get ready, and yes, unfortunately, there is a time when we must all go. class of 2011, today you have reached the mountaintop by earning a degree from one of the great institutions of higher education anywhere in the world. a university led by a talented
board of trustees, and an experienced and passionate president, dr. sidney ribeau, and a faculty of great scholars and practitioners. a university that has trained great surgeons, supreme court justices, members of congress, mayors of major american cities, architects, engineers, musicians, actors, business leaders, lawyers, dentists, teachers and pastors. a university whose impact is known and heard around the world, not only within the united states, but also throughout the african diaspora and the global community. class of 2011, you have not simply earned a degree from any university, you have earned your degrees today from howard
university, one of this nation's very, very best and don't you ever forget it. my own family has proudly been a part of this university's legacy and history. my late grandfather, born as the son of sugar cane sharecroppers in rural louisiana in the year of the plessy vs. ferguson decision in 1896, graduated from howard university school of medicine in nineteen hundred and twenty-two, and returned to the segregated south of new orleans to practice medicine - and found both an insurance company and a savings bank - in a career that spanned 60 years.. following that, no less than 10 family members, including my late father-in-law, and my wife, michelle miller, an
award-winning cbs news correspondent, who finished howard university school of communications in 1989, are proud members of the bison family. so, dr. ribeau, you make me complete with this honorary degree today, for i am now and forever shall be a proud howard university bison. class of 2011, the world that you face is a world in the throes of change and transformation. from the growing economic power of india and china, to the presence of a black man in the white house, this nation has
come a long way since the freedom riders of 50 years ago left campuses - including howard university - to go work to change the american south. as you look beyond the mountaintop toward the horizon and see the many valleys, hilltops and mountains that you will traverse throughout your life, i would like to ask you to keep three simple words in mind. those three words are excellence, equality and expectation. the first e is to commit to excellence. whether we are talking about
oprah winfrey, barack obama, barry rand, sidney ribeau, thurgood marshall, we are witnesses to lives that have committed to excellence. oprah winfrey is where she is today because she is simply the best. barack obama is where he is today because he is simply the best. some in the world today accept mediocrity and excuses. i want to see the graduates of 2011 accelerate themselves and their lives through an absolute commitment to being the best you can be in everything that you do. you can be good mothers, good fathers, good husbands, good wives, good life partners.
whatever profession you choose, commit to be the best. one recent example of the triumph of the commitment to excellence over mediocrity occurred because, while donald trump was obsessing about birth certificates, barack obama was getting osama bin laden. [applause] all i can say is, you got your birth certificate, donald, and you got bin laden, what do you want now? the second e is to commit to
equality. you must work for a more just and equitable america. an america which will not tolerate deep poverty amidst great prosperity. a nation which does not tolerate almost 40 percent of its young black children not finishing high school on time each year. an america which would cut aid to education, to housing, to health care and children while maintaining huge subsidies and tax loopholes for the wealthiest interests in this nation. we cannot be comfortable when the great recession has cost millions of people their jobs and millions of people their homes. we cannot be comfortable when the wealth gap in this nation between those who have and
those who have not is on the rise. you must not fall prey to commercialism, consumerism, materialism and militarism. your task, like the freedom riders of 50 years ago, like the students that challenged the vietnam war, like those who sat in at the lunch counter, or the students of a generation ago who marched against apartheid and became young adults who carried that spirit of change to their workplace and their communities, you must have the courage to commit to work for social and economic equality for all. you can do well, have a good
job, and a good life by also doing good work in the community. class of 2011 can be the leaders who rebuild the nation's economy, who will fix the nation's schools, who build the global enterprises that will produce a more just and equitable america and a more just and equitable global community. class of 2011, the second e is equality. the third e is to commit to high expectations. a nation which expects failure will fail. a people that accepts second place, will remain in second place. you are living proof, today,
that a child who grows up anywhere is a child who can succeed and become a college graduate. [cheers] whether you are from chicago or detroit, new orleans or los angeles, whether you grew up uptown or downtown, with two parents or one parent, whether you grew up with prosperity or poverty, you are demonstrating today as howard university graduates your commitment to overcome expectations of mediocrity that others may have, because you and those who love you set expectations of high achievement for you. somewhere today in this
audience is, indeed, the great future medical researcher who will find a cure for our most difficult diseases. somewhere in this audience today is a future justice of the united states supreme court who will stand on the great shoulders of thurgood marshall. somewhere in this audience today is a great journalist and communicator who will follow in the footsteps and the legacy of oprah winfrey. i look out and i see governors, mayors, members of congress, presidents of universities, pastors of churches, teachers of children, principals of high schools, heads of federal departments, military leaders, physicists, biologists, pharmacists, podiatrists, and also, class of 2011, you will
produce a future president of the united states. [applause] and she will make history will make history, too. [cheers and applause] class of 2011, you can and will be whomever you want to be and whatever you choose to be. hold fast to the highest expectations. as a great writer once wrote, "you have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. you can steer yourself in any direction you choose. you're on your own and you know what you know and you are the one who will decide where to go." today i ask all parents, grandparents, family, alumni, faculty and administrators to
join me today in saying that anyone who thinks the glass of the future is half empty need only look at the beautiful, talented and promising graduates of howard university, class of 2011. [applause] on this day of celebration, we are one howard university and we are empowered. we are one howard university and we are inspired. we are one howard university and we are powerful, magnificent and courageous. we are one howard university and we are servants. we are one howard university and class of 2011, this is your time to name and claim your leadership role in 21st century america. stand today, committed to excellence, equality and high
expectations and stand today on the great shoulders of the former graduates of howard university. the shoulders of kenneth clark and vernon jordan. the shoulders of malaak compton rock, cathy hughes, and edward brooke. the shoulders of judge robert carter, mayor david dinkins, and mayor shirley franklin. the shoulders of attorney general kamala harris, mayor kasim reed, and governor douglas wilder. the shoulders of ambassador andrew young, general benjamin davis, fredricka whitfield, and laurie stokes. the shoulders of toni morrison, taraji henson and michelle miller. you stand on the shoulders of our mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers,
we stand on the shoulders of all who have struggled, all who have sweated, all who have bled, all who have yearned, all who have sacrificed, because they join in celebrating howard university's class of 2011 united, under god, indivisible, with liberty, justice and a commitment to excellence, equality and high expectations for all . . congratulations class of 2011. this is your mission. this is your moment. good luck and godspeed. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> later today, remarks from supreme court justice samuel alito on supreme court practices and traditions. he told an argument -- an audience that cases usually involve reading five. pages or more of legal briefs. he spoke at a bar association luncheon. you can see his comments today at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on c- span. tomorrow on "washington journal ," the founder and editor of thinkprogress.org. ilan berman examines iran's role in the middle east. and a talk about politico.com action -- political action
committees. "washington journal," live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> people ask, how much of your time be spent riding and how much do you spend during research -- doing research? good question. no one asked, how much of your time be spent thinking? that is the most important part of it. sunday, the "q & a" interview with david mccullough. >> next, another commencement address with mountain climber erik weihenmayer. he is the only blind person who was ever climbed the seven summits. this is half an hour.
>> mr. erik weihenmayer, he is celebrated for his remarkable physical accomplishments. his firsthand knowledge of overcoming personal optical has inspired his dedication to help others. despite losing his vision at the age of 13, erik has become a celebrated an accomplished athlete. he is a world renowned skiier, long distance biker, ice climber and acrobat. in took us a one, he claimed -- became the first blind person to reach the seventh summit. he became the only blind person to ever climb all of the seven summits. his feats of endurance and
bravery are amazing enough on their own. but there is more. he has dedicated himself to bringing new possibilities to others. he is co-founder of no barriers, a nonprofit organization that helps bring people with disabilities through their own personal barriers to live full and active lives. in 2004, he led a group of blind tibetan teenagers 21,000 feet up the north base of mount everest. the remarkable journey was captured in the award winning documentary, "blind sight." his autobiography was published in 10 countries and in six languages. he co-authored a second book about turning everyday troubles into everyday greatness.
a bunch of us were going about our shores and our work. perhaps you were packing up and celebrating. on friday, the 10th anniversary of his mouth everest he said, he was climbing a mountain in colorado, the highest point in the rocky mountains. starting next month, he will appear in the upcoming adventure reality series, "expedition and possible." we are so honored that he joins us here today. his speech is being broadcast for later review on c-span. please give a wonderful, warm welcome for mr. erik weihenmayer. [applause] >> thank you, everyone.
thank you, president bravman. i know that was a really nice introduction and lots of prestigious things and accomplishments, but i think most people are just excited about the dog today. my dog here to my left, uri. i was earlier out in the crowd and somebody said, "that's the most amazing dog i've ever seen, man's best friend, what a noble creature." then i was walking up the aisle and i think i heard him say, "oh, by the way, that's our speaker, he climbed mount everest blind." seatsed to taking a back to the dog. bes been such a pleasure to able to climb mountains around the world, to do the seven summits, to adventure as a blind person. obviously there is a physical dimension to what i do, but i think more interesting than the physical piece has been the mental journey.
it's been a journey to understand how people, how teams, how cultures here in the united states and around the world, to see how we confront uncertainty, to see how we confront change, whether we're able to grow and evolve to a certain degree of success, but then make a decision to camp out on the side of the mountain and ultimately stagnate or whether we figure out a way to challenge ourselves until the day we die. to see how people deal with adversity, whether it crushes us, as it does so many people or whether we figure out a way to flourish in the face of it. how we deal with uncertainty you're leaving bucknell, many of you, and you have a road map to create ahead, there's lots of uncertainty as you go forward. a blind person, a blind climber in particular, also there's a lot of uncertainty. i feel like i'm in that same boat, there's no road map, there's no defined, clear road map for a blind climber.
the word 'blind' and 'climber', they don't even go together. it's like being a jamaican bobsledder and there's a lot of uncertainty as i decided that i would try to climb the seven summits, the tallest mountain in every continent. my first of the seven was actually mount mckinley, denali, 'the great one,' 'the high one' in the inuit language. we flew planes onto the glacier at 7,000 feet and, 19 days later, we crossed this narrow summit ridge towards the summit. it was 4:30 in the afternoon when i stood on top. it turned out to be helen keller's birthday. and we were all worried about getting down, you know, 90 percent of accidents happen on the way down when you've lost your focus. but we were also exhilarated because we had timed it so well. we had radioed down to a small airstrip near the mountain, and now that we were near the top, my dad and my two brothers and my wife, they were circling above us watching us take our
last steps. we all had these red suits on. we looked identical to each other. we were waving our ski poles at the plane, we're cheering and i said to my buddy, jeff, i said, "jeff, do you think they'll know i made it? he said, "oh yeah, they'll know you're the only one waving your ski poles in the opposite direction." [laughter] it's good to have friends, as you know. i did make it down safely and i lay outside my igloo that we had built up there. as cold as it was, as tired as i was, i lay on my belly in the snow, and i've never done something so physically demanding, so mentally demanding, something that had asked so much out of myself. half of me knew i wasn't cut out for this life. i wasn't tough enough, i wasn't resilient enough. this was the last thing a blind person is supposed to be doing with his life. but the other half of me didn't
care. the other half of me wanted to figure out how to climb forever. i climbed into the igloo and chris morris, who was our team leader, he'd cooked up a big pot of celebratory freeze-dried spaghetti, which i immediately gave back to the mountain gods. i threw up right in the entranceway and everyone had to crawl through it to get out. chris is from alaska and he's got these great philosophies, these great witticisms about life. you know you're sitting out in this terrible storm. it's blowing, it's hammering in your face, you're miserable. chris will look up with a big smile on his face and he'll say something like, "sure is cold out here, but at least it's windy." or he'll say, "we sure have been climbing a long way, but at least we're lost." on the top of aconcagua, 23,000 feet, i got to the summit behind chris and he gave me a hug and he said, "big e, you may be blind, but you sure are slow." i wasn't expecting that, but i said, "you know, chris, you're not so nice, but at least you're
stupid." [laughter] i love positive pessimisms. you know you can use them anytime, anyplace, to say, "hey, we're facing a tough road ahead but we'll get through this together." as graduates, you could say, "hey, there's not a lot of jobs out there but at least i have a 2.1 gpa." or when you buy your first house, "you know honey, we may have to move into a smaller house than we wanted to but at least my mother-in-law's coming to live with us." but back in the igloo, i said, "chris, i am so sorry. i didn't mean to throw up and ruin the entrance of the igloo." and he did something so nice-he slapped me on the back as hard as he possibly could, and he said, "big e., anyone who stands on the top of north america, i'll crawl through his puke any day." and he did, he crawled right through. i was touched.
[laughter] i've had such a good time in the mountains, climbing to the tops of mountains and coming down with friends around me. climbing and summiting a mountain is very much a goal. it's linear, it's tangible, it's reachable. i love goals. i know all of you have multitudes and multitudes of goals that will keep you very busy that are very important. visions and goals but in my life, and i imagine in yours too, what's been more important than any one goal, is what i would call a vision. i see a vision maybe a little differently than others, it's more of an internal vision. a vision of how we see ourselves living our lives and serving other people and impacting the world-what kind of legacy we want to leave behind us. i think sometimes we can focus on these long lists of goals, they can become isolated and fragmented and go unfulfilled, or maybe even lead us in directions that we didn't want to go to in the first place. when i think we need to continually reconnect with that unifying vision that takes
those goals and binds them together and gives them purpose and power. i think first has to come a vision and it's one thing as you know, to create a vision, it's another thing entirely to believe in it so strongly that you're able to summon up the focus and the courage and the discipline to live within its framework. at bucknell, your vision is powerful. perhaps your vision is to serve people-your community, your family, your university, the world around you. but how do your goals, day after day after day, align to bring you closer to that vision? perhaps your vision is to flourish through a sense of innovation. how do your goals achieve it? if your vision is to not just slip into the status quo, but to find ways of blasting through people's expectations so hard you shatter them into a million pieces-how do your goals do it? if your vision is not just to
respond and react to life's changes and challenges but to lead - how do you take those goals and wrap them around that vision and make it real? i think, as you leave bucknell, it's a very important time to begin to formulate the vision that will sustain you along your journey. like an internal compass, it guides us through good weather and-most importantly-through bad weather. and it tells you where you're going and why it's so important you get there. swept to the sidelines when i went blind just before my freshman year in high school, i wasn't thinking about a vision. i was just thinking about surviving. blindness was like a storm that had descended upon me with such force, such viciousness, i thought i'd be crushed by it. i remember sitting in the
cafeteria listening to all the laughter, all the jokes, all the food fights passing me by that i wanted to be a part of, and i wasn't afraid to go blind. what i was afraid of was that i would be swept to the sidelines, that i'd be forgotten, that my life would be meaningless, for nothing. i could still see just a tiny bit out of my right eye at that time. if i got real close to the tv set, i could watch television. i had my face pressed up against the screen one day, watching this show, back in the '80s called "that's incredible." they were featuring a guy named terry fox. terry was a canadian, he'd lost a leg to cancer and he was still in the hospital when he decided that he was going to run across canada, thousands of miles. now i'll tell you, this is not the typical decision that a person in his situation was supposed to make. most people would have just dug in their heels and focused on surviving. instead, terry did the exact opposite. he decided to attack. the miles took a terrible toll on his body, on his stump.
the look on his face was an absolute contradiction-full of exhaustion, yet at the same time, full of exultation. and i thought to myself, there's something inside of us that i can only describe, at the time, as a light-a light that seemed to have the ability to feed on frustration, on setbacks, on failures, to use those things as fuel. the greater the challenge, the brighter that light burned. that light seemed to make us more focused, more driven, more creative. i wondered if it could even transcend our own limitations and give our lives power. it was by staring into terry's face with my one eye pressed up against the screen that i first wondered, "how do you turn into the storm of life and emerge on the other side, not just unscathed, not just damaged as little as possible, but actually stronger and better?"
it was a few months after that that i got this newsletter in braille of a group taking blind kids rock climbing. and i ran my hand up the wall of my room and i thought, "who would be crazy enough to take a blind kid rock climbing?" so i signed up. [laughter] i was tired of building walls around myself, i wanted to attack, like terry. and i found through trial and error that i could do a pull- up, i could scan my hand across the face, and just before i was ready to lose strength in my forearms and fingers and felt like i had to fall, i'd dig my fingers into a little crack or pocket, just enough to keep me stuck to the face a few seconds longer so i could do another pull-up, scan my other hand across the face. i left a lot of blood and skin on the face, but i got to the top and i'll never forget. it was so exhilarating, so vibrant, it was almost painful. like a rebirth the texture of the rocks under my hands and the patterns of hot and cold as the sun touched the rock. the sound of space when i got
up high i could hear sound vibrations moving infinitely through space. it was beautiful, but as beautiful as it was, it was also scary. reaching into darkness and there's one thing that hasn't changed much since that very first time i went rock climbing 25 years ago, and that's the reach. i don't care if we're blind or sighted, i think in a way we're all reaching into darkness. we're hoping, we're predicting, we're praying, we're calculating. all our metrics, all our measurements, all our algorithms, the data leads us to believe that we're going to find what we're looking for, but we understand there's no guarantee. it's that moment when we've committed ourselves to the reach, our minds, our bodies, we know it's almost impossible to turn back. i think those fears, they're overwhelming the fear of flopping on our face, of making a bad decision that leads us astray. the fear that we're not as good at something as we wanted to be or the fear, for some of us older folks, that we've climbed
as high as we can go, there's nowhere else to go but down. i think all those fears conspire against us and they paralyze us. i think there's a big difference between most people and pioneers, because pioneers understand that life is an ongoing, never-ending process of reaching out into the darkness when we don't know exactly what we'll find. we're constantly reaching towards immense possibilities. they're always unseen, yet they're sensed. while so many others allow that darkness to paralyze them. well, i reached out that day. i know you reach out every day and you're about to make some big reaches in your life. those reaches lead us to some great adventures around the world. i will say this, though. i don't see myself as some crazy blind guy, like a blind evel knievel just getting shot across the grand canyon in a rocket ship or something. i'm very methodical.
i see myself more, maybe as you do, as an innovator, as a problem solver. i love looking at things that maybe others see as impossible or improbable and then figuring out a way forward. i'm motivated in a similar way as the pioneers of the past, like sir edmund hillary, like tenzing norgay, by a sense of what's possible. i think it's important to see ourselves as modern-day pioneers. i don't think that means that you're climbing necessarily a scary mountain. what it means is that we're motivated from within, by that internal vision rather than from external factors. it means we're motivated by a sense of discovery. when you define the word discovery, it means to unveil. i think a lot of the world and its potential are veiled by darkness. here's the trouble, though. i think, as a pioneer, when you embrace that mindset, and you reach out, farther and farther up the mountain, maybe farther
than anyone's ever gone before, and you've tried to be great the farther you reach, the more adversity you bring into your life. in fact, it's like you're asking for it. who wants that? in fact, i think the farther you reach, the more adversity you bring in. there's a correlation between adversity and greatness. the two go hand-in-hand, there's no way to separate them. maybe what kept our species surviving for so many thousands of years was this ability to move away from discomfort, away from uncertainty, to find nice, safe, familiar niches and settle in. that doesn't work anymore in the modern world. i think, in order to achieve greatness, we've got to square off with adversity, those small adversities that wear us down, that make us ask ourselves, "hey, i'm treading water but i'm still drowning." right up to the most complex issues that face us as human beings on the
horizon ready to bear down on us. i think we've got to square off with them and walk into the storm. the best example i ever saw on a personal level, a person able to do this is my friend mark wellman. mark wellman, when he was 21 years old, fell down a peak in the sierra nevadas, and he became paralyzed from the waist down. mark decided that he was going to learn to climb again. he went out and he developed this new pioneering system no one had ever seen anything like it. his partner goes up the rock face and anchors the rope and then mark has a pull-up bar that he invented that locks onto the rope with an ascender. he slides it up the rope, it locks off, he pulls himself up on a pulley system. he pushes the bar up, he pulls himself up, he pushes the bar up. he only gets about six inches up with each pull-up. he climbed el capitan 3,300- feet of overhanging granite. they estimated he did over 7,000 pull-ups in seven days. i've met a lot of people like mark over the years. i call these people alchemists. you know, they can take the
lead that life piles on top of them and they'll figure out a way to transform it into gold. with an alchemist, they don't just do the traditional things that you hear about. they don't just deal well with adversity, they don't avoid it, they don't even overcome it as you hear so often. these alchemists have figured out how to do something radically different. they've figured out how to seize hold of that storm of adversity that seems to swirl around us to harness its energy and use that energy to propel themselves forward to places that they never would have gone to in any other way. with an alchemist you can throw them in the midst of a fierce competitive, uncertain environment, you can strip away their resources, you can throw roadblocks in front of them, and they'll still find a way to win. and i'd argue that they don't find a way to win despite
adversity, they find a way to win because of it. i think if we want to learn, if we want to grow, if we want to strengthen great teams around us, if we want to innovate, if we want to create a whole new paradigm that the world follows, i think the way we harness those challenges in our lives is our greatest advantage. imagine while the world is digging in its heels and focused on surviving, you're out there using the energy behind this momentous occasion to drive forward, to make ground, to make an impact. what if adversity weren't the enemy? what if, instead, it were the pathway to greatness? there are a lot of adversities that are all around us. tough entering a pretty economy, and people's confidences have been beaten down over the years. there's lots of hype that america isn't what it used to be. and beyond all that, there are global challenges, like an overcrowded planet and poverty
and natural disasters and climate change and over- reliance on fossil fuels and a clash of religions and cultures that compete around the world. lots of adversity. but look at the pool of talent in this stadium, in this area. look at this pool of talent. you are the alchemists. hopere the world's best for alchemy. but i don't think it's enough to just harness adversity and push through and say, "look at me, look at me on top." i think leadership is about pushing the envelope but i also think it's equally about helping others to reach their own summit. for me, that opportunity came when i teamed up again with mark wellman to start this organization no barriers. we were so impressed by the innovative ways that each of us climbed mountains that we
decided that it was time to show others how to change their approach and their mindset to adversity. we bring together this amazing community of pioneers, most of them have disabilities who have pushed the envelope in science and technology and engineering and art and music. we bring them together with the aim of helping others with challenges, that's most of us, find new ideas, new approaches, new technologies, to shatter the personal barriers in our lives and be more adventurous. we show new prosthetic legs that are enabling amputees to sometimes walk for the first time. new mountain bikes for paraplegics to get off the pavement for the very first time. new climbing systems and kayaking systems for triple and quadruple amputees to get out and adventure in the wilderness. most importantly we teach that mindset, that we all have the tools, we all have the mindset to attack our challenges head- on and live the life that we envisioned.
in that no barriers spirit, as the 10th year anniversary of my mount everest climb approaches on tuesday, we as a team decided that we wanted to celebrate and give back to america's heroes. we organized, last summer, a team of injured soldiers, soldiers who had been hurt in afghanistan and iraq. we had a team of 10 soldiers, we took them back to colorado and trained them and taught them everything they needed to know about climbing. on this team we had some extraordinary people. nicolette, who had been injured in iraq and was in a wheelchair for three and a half years as she learned to walk again. dan, a marine, who is big and tough and could bite you in half but, because of ptsd, has trouble walking through a grocery store. and matt, who was part of elite force when a helicopter crashed and he was sucked into the rotor of his helicopter, he lost
his leg. his other foot has severe nerve damage, every step is painful. and, close to my heart, steve, who was in an armored vehicle - shrapnel went through his brain and blinded him instantly. on this summit day, this himalayan giant mountain next to mount everest. it was a hard day. we were pushing up steep rock and steep ice and steep snow and, at one point, steve started wearing down and struggling. he said, "i feel like i'm out of my element. i feel like i need to go down." my friend, jeff, he just seems to know exactly how hard to push people and know what to say. he said, "steve, this just isn't about you. this is about all those injured soldiers, all the soldiers who are yet to be injured, all your fallen comrades.
this is about them. knuckle down and get this job done." and that was what steve needed to hear because, three hours later, steve and the rest of the soldiers in my everest team. we stood at 20,100 feet together. i've been on higher mountains, i've been on harder mountains but, standing on top with these heroes was the proudest moment of my life. i think leadership, you'll find, is contagious. you pass it from body to body, from life to life. and we give the people around us great courage to do great things. you're entering a very challenging world. it's harder and harder to predict the future. in fact, i promise you there will be days where you feel like you're climbing blind. but i don't think this is the time to lose our will, to be clouded by fear and doubt, to be swept to the sidelines and forgotten. i think this is the best time in history, perhaps the most precious time in history, to be a pioneer, to reach out, to take lead and turn it into gold. we do this for ourselves, for
your family, for your university but, i think most importantly, we do it for the sake of this wondrous world that we live in. helen keller said, "i am only one, but still, i am one. i cannot do everything, but still, i will do something. i will not refuse to do the something that i can do." to bucknell graduates 2011, keep climbing. keep reaching. climb high. thank you very much. [applause]
>> that complete our saturday coverage of commencement addresses. tomorrow, we will show you several other speeches starting with a speech given by florida senator marco rubio. after that, new york city mayor marc -- michael bloomberg speaks. the speeches start at 3:00 p.m. eastern on sunday. tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern, supreme court justice samuel alito gives a speech about the top 10 things you do not know about the supreme court. here is a portion of his remarks. >> some of what is written about us is misleading or just plain wrong. i will give you two examples. first of all, something that is misleading unintentionally, but
nevertheless misleading. i was struck and somewhat this please -- displeased by a flurry of articles regarding justice thomas' practice of not asking questions during oral argument. if he asked as many questions as the rest of us, the lawyers would not get a word in edgewise. it is this practice not to ask questions except on unusual occasions. much was made of this in the press. there were articles suggesting that justices have an obligation to ask questions during oral arguments so that the lawyers will know what they are thinking. none of the articles that i read pointed out something that is important and would put this matter in historical perspective. that is bad justice thomas -- that is that justice thomas'
practice of not asking questions is the same of the person regarded as the greatest supreme court justice ever, that is john marshall. he built the supreme court into the institution it has become. in the john marshall's day, the justices asked no questions. they sat there and listen to the attorneys. the entire presentation was oral. there were no limits on the length of the arguments. a party could have two or three attorneys arguing on his behalf. that was john marshall's practice during the founding era. i think maybe it would have provided some historical perspective it at least one of the articles had pointed out that fact. now on to something that is just
plain wrong and, again, i think unintentionally so. the widespread popular criticism of our court is that we are very pro-business, that we always decide cases in favor of business and against employees and people who are consumers. this has mentioned by a lot of public officials. a few months ago, i was running on my treadmill. when i do that, i almost always watch television to overcome the boredom and the discomfort of what i am doing. is what the thing to the channels to look for something that will make 45 minutes past relatively painlessly. i found nothing that interested me. finally, i settled on a c-span program that featured a debate
between a distinguished commentator on the supreme court and another person. i would not have watched it if the topic was squarely about the courts. within a few minutes, the commentator on the court began to discuss the courts. he said, the current supreme court is very pro-business. what can you expect because chief justice roberts and justice alito used to work for the chamber of commerce. when i heard this, i almost fell off of the treadmill. i had no recollection of this episode in my career. as you might have gathered, i had all the two employers during my entire working life. i never earned an honest living in the private sector. [laughter]
when i heard this, i thought something had happened to you. you have any debt. you have forgotten an entire period of your life. i thought i should tell of of the treadmill and look up my entry on wikipedia. if i did that, who knows what i would have found. justice of the gold was in the french foreign legion. that was in early 2011. after that, a number of articles began to appear that expressed surprise that most of our cases involving business law and employment law had gone against business interests and had gone against employers.
what accounted for the change during the 2011 term? maybe the law had something to do with it. maybe the text of the statute involved and the precedents of these cases. i know it is a radical thought, but it is worth considering. >> supreme court justice samuel alito speaks at the law day celebration. you can see that speech at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. on thursday, juan williams talked about being fired from national public radio. he was fired for making remarks about muslims on fox news.
i'd also like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences today and our weekly podcast from the national press club that's available free for download on i-tunes. you can also follow the action on twitter. after our guest speech concludes, wheel very we'll have q&a and i intend to ask as many questions as time permits. now it is time to introduce our head table. i would ask you to stand up briefly and ask the audience to hold applause until after all are introduced. from your right, tim young, a freelance pundit and comic and chairman of our young members committee. thank you for being here
today. peggy orchowski is with the hispanic outlook on higher education and here as part of our freelance committee. not that long ago she was an intern working for mr. williams at npr and then comes my colleague from associated press on the print side, and she is president of the national association of hispanic journalists and a member of the national press club as well. congratulations to rafael williams, the son of our guest speaker, just having graduated from haverford. we can allow one round of applause. [applause] well deserved. and an independent journalist who has formerly worked for npr and the devoted wife of our guest speaker today. skipping over the podium, bob keefe is the senior press secretary for the national resources defense council, the committee member who organized today's
luncheon, first time out. thank you, bob. skipping over our speaker for a moment, greg mott, bloomberg news, chair of our diversity committee. he and i worked together in buffalo, new york many years ago understand are sworn to secrecy about that. my associate member of the national press club who works for associated press television news. steve taylor is a fox news correspondent, and eric wemple is a media critic moving to "the washington post." congratulations are in order there. and woting, so please give them all a round of applause. we begin with a quotation. yesterday npr fired me for telling the truth. that is how our guest speaker started a column in
the wake of his ouster from npr following controversial remarks he made about muslims and his departure set off a firestorm. a few months later, npr's president and see e owe would resign -- and c.e.o. would resign under pressure. juan explained that he didn't fit in their box, nor does he fit into any box which makes him all the more interesting and why we're so happy to have him here today. our guest speaker was born in panama, the son of a boxing trainer and a seamstress. when he was four years old his family emigrated to the rough and tumble bed-stuy section of brooklyn and juan would earn scholarships to an exclusive quaker prep school and later to haverford college west of philadelphia. it was at student newspapers in high school and college and as an intern at the old philadelphia bulletin that he had his first taste of journalism. in a column after the npr
dustup, elmer smith, who first met juan at old bulletin newspaper described him as being, quote, cut from a different cloth. juan started as an intern at at "washington post" and spent 23 years there as a reporter and writer of a column. at post, he reported on everything from problems in the old d.c. public schools, as if they are gone, to corruption by then mayor marion barry before going on to cover the white house and every major political campaign stretching from 1980 to the year 2000. he his insight and reporting acumen led to television and reporting appearances that continue today. npr hired him for talk of the nation show and later on he went on to positions such as the senior national correspondent and political correspondent there. it also led him to regular appearances on fox news where october 20 last year during an appearance on the o'reilly show he said this "when i get on the plane if
i see people in muslim garb and i think they're identifying themselves first and foremost as muslims, i get worried, i get nervous." npr said his remarks were inconsistent with standards and practices but npr's review of how that was handled itself revealed problems. clearly he has moved on from that and just might be doing better than ever. along with daily journalism he is the author of best selling books about the civil roots icons such as thurgood marshall his next book due out in july is called muzzled, the assault on honest debate. two months ago we had the woman who ran npr, vivian schiller, at this very podium to discuss that, among other things just between -- rather just before she, too, was let go. since then our guest has taken on an expanded role at fox news, serving as a political analyst, panelist and regular substitute host
on the o'reilly factor. please give a warm national press club welcome to juan williams. [applause] >> mark, thank you very much. bob, thank you for setting this up on your maiden voyage. i hope i hold to your high standards. thank you. it's a pleasure for me to be here at the national press club and i want to thank you all for coming out today and of course i want to thank you, mark, for the invitation to be here. you know, i have been in this room more than a dozen times to hear speakers, and i never thought i would be the speaker. never. of course, i had never thought i would be in a situation that mark described to you just six months ago where i found myself not having my biline or my comments on the t.v. but the controversy was about me and i found my
picture and my voice being replayed nationwide for being the journalist fired by npr accused of bigotry and having said that i should keep my comments between myself and my psychiatrist and a suggestion being made that maybe i should seek out guidance from a publicity publicist on what it is that i say to anybody in public, and if that wasn't enough to ruin a journalist's day, the official reason given for my firing, as mark told you, that i violated journalistic standards, something that all of you in this room, mostly journalists, will understand that i hold quite dear to heart, and the idea was that because i had made the statement that mark described to you i could no longer be an effective journalist. to that extent, i was accused therefore of momenting hate and intolerance, i was a black guy making fun of muslim for the entertainment of white
racists and do not forget that i was an unrepentant employee of fox news so there was quite a list of charges against me at the time. given that tarring of my reputation, i, again, just want to emphasize how much i appreciate the opportunity to be here today and especially to you members of the press who suggested that i be invited to speak after the former npr president spoke here in march as mark described for you. her effort to minimize my firing and the personal attacks led journalists to ask that i be given this platform today, and i thank you, and let me remind you that as mark described, but not in full, that when that person was here, that reporters pressed her. they refused to accept the platitude and the efforts to
minimize the idea of a major news organization, silencing a commentator. all of this fits with the great tradition of this press club at the center of major debate in american life, especially debate that touches on the hearts and practice of journalism and i say that in the context of this being a moment when journalism is in the midst of such transformation with the flood of 24-hour news creating demand for opinion and analysis to help people make sense of the spin, the posturing the provocateurs that line today's niche media landscape. i also appreciate the chance to speak here because, in fact, when i was fired, i was not given a chance to speak. this is such a strange thing, but i was simply give and phone call and told that my contract was being terminated, and this was after working for npr for ten years as a host senior
correspondent and political analyst. so, in essence, i had been muzzled, not given the chance to come in to explain myself, not being told exactly what the understanding was of the entire context that was prompting management to make the decision they made, and that context and that moment, i got to tell you in all honesty, i feared that my career as a journalist was over. i feared that i had lost my credibility. npr certainly has a large microphone in every town in america, and i didn't know how this was going to play in the national consciousness, so to get back to my earlier point, i never thought i would find myself in this situation. i didn't think i would have the opportunity to speak at national press club and with the ensuing congressional debate over npr funding, i found myself really caught up in a whirlwind that most journalists would be
unaccustomed to. i have worked obviously on t.v. since the late '80's, locally in washington, d.c. for cnn and then for fox, as mark told you, i have written best-selling books but by comparison the focus brought on by the recent controversy, i have to tell you, i was fairly anonymous before all this happened. one man came up to me and he said i didn't know what you looked like until i saw your picture on the front page of "the new york times" and of course, npr listeners used to say to me that was nice to be able to put a face with the voice when they met me. in those situations i would have to bite my tongue because my instinct was to say hey, i didn't know what you looked like either, so big surprise to me, and now i have in situation with fox viewers that when they meet me, they said -- one guy said recently, it's nice to be able to put a body with the face. that's a new twist for me. as we are speaking here today, i wanted to ask you
to engage in active imagination. as mark mentioned to you when i first went to npr, i was a talk show host for talk of the nation. i wanted to just play around a little bit with imagination and have you imagine that you are listen ing to a talk show, and let's pretend that our topic today is the firing of our guest juan williams. let's begin first with an update from juan williams. so since my firing, i was hired full-time by fox in yours to be a political analyst there. i have -- i appreciate that, and i certainly appreciate fox making that decision. you can imagine how scary it is in these days when journalists are under such economic pressure to be told you're gone. i'm also writing a column
for the herald newspaper and for foxnews.com, and i have just finished an intense four months of life that i have been writing this book, muzzled, and the book will come out in late july, soap that's kind of an update on where i am now. now, let me change hats and pretend to be the radio talk show host and i would say, well, tell us exactly how you think this storm started. when did the tornado rip into your life? and i guess my response would be, well, i didn't even know it had ripped into my life. what happened was that bill o'reilly, who is the number one talk show host on cable news in america, was on the view, and then expressed his belief that muslims attacked us on 9/11 which prompted joy behar and whoopi goldberg to walk off the set, and then the following
monday, i was the lead guest on bill o'reilly's show and he asked me, he said quite bluntly, where am i wrong? there is no way to get around the fact there is a worldwide problem with radical islamic thought. candidly, when i get on an airplane dressed in muslim garb, identifying themselves as muslim, it makes me nervous. that was an expression of a feeling, especially after 9/11, after the shoe bomber, after what took place in london, madrid, indough knee sharks the christmas bomber, the times square bomber who as declared there is blood being shed in the ongoing war with muslims. i added to with bill o'reilly we cannot violate the rights of american
muslims or any muslims anyplace in the world because of religion. i said think about timothy mcveigh. think about the olympic bomber in atlanta. think about the westboro baptist church, whose members continue now with the supreme court sanctions to protest at military funerals while shouting that god hates gays. we cannot violate the rights of people of any faith based on the actions of people who are extremists. i said all this at the time in the full context of the interview that was taking place and i'll change that word interview to debate with bill o'reilly and i made it clear that we cannot tolerate people using rhetoric and words to attack muslims, because based on those fears, you could get into a situation such as had been recently the case in new york where a cab driver
had his throat cut by someone whos was attacking him because he was a muslim. now, that discussion was honest and heartfelt, and led npr to fire me. let me switch hats again and be the talk show host. did you realize, juan, when you were making these comments that people might view them as inflammatory and bigoted? and i got to tell you, i have never had that thought, not to this date until may 26, 2011, about six months later, just short of six months later, i never once had that thought. some days you think i should have couched it this way. i never had a second thought because in fact, what i expressed was a genuine feeling. it was not a well vetted analysis. it wasn't a suggestion that
we base our tsa policies on the basis of such a feeling. it was simply a statement of feel of the country. it surprises me even in admitting to a feeling how difficult it is in this country today to try to solve problems of racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination if people are unable to speak frankly, if people are unable to start an honest dialogue. it seems to me incredibly difficult. in fact, subsequently, some people who wanted to criticize me said oh, juan is black. what if that had been said about three young black guys who were walking down the street late at night, somebody said, you know, i didn't feel comfortable because i saw these three
young black men approaching. and i said, you know what, gee whiz, i'm black, and as you can see i'm the father of a black son, and if i was walking down the street late at night and saw three young men dressed in a thuggish manner and looking suspicious, i would be nervous, too, but apparently you're not allowed to say some things, but what has been rewarding to me is through all of this there has been an incredible amount of support from left and from right, people saying that this is a time when political correctness needs to be called out as corrosive to public discourse, and to public debate. i'm reminded that george washington, one of the founding fathers said, for if men are to be precludeed from offering their sentiments on matters of central -- on matters that are central, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences shall
then their reason is no use to us as americans. he said this in 1783. i think it applies to this very day. so let me switch hats again, and as a talk show host say what have you learned from this? and i say first and foremost for me, i've been stunned by the number of people who come up to me, no matter where i am, basketball games, supermarkets, walking down the street, airports, to tell me that, you know what? they have had the same thought or they, too, feel they can't engage in honest discussion in this country, that if you can't tell people what's on your mind for fear that someone is going to call. >> bigot, a racist, a homophobe. you can't tell people what's going on because there's the fear, well, as in my case that you might be fired but more generally, that you
will be shunned, and so given the fact that we as americans and as a nation aring going through so much change, political change, social change, demographic shifts in our population, geopolitical shifts, dealing with so many critical issues, it just strikes me as out of keeping with our history that we would at this point try to silence, silence debate and silence people who are trying to contribute to a better understanding of who we are in service to the idea of solving problems and making us a better nation. let me switch hats again and pretend that i'm the talk show host and say well, what most is surprised you during this? and i said, you know, right after i got that late afternoon phone call, i bit my tongue, i was so worried, i didn't know.
i didn't talk to anybody. i was just worried about what was going to happen. it was npr that leaked this as a story and started the national attention. there was the worry that, you know what? i can see where people who are conservative might decide that they want to support me. they are most familiar with this idea that if you say the wrong thing, you might be subjected to the charge of bigotry, racism and et cetera, but i wondered how the left wing of the country's political spectrum might react. would this be an opportunity to simply jump on it? so it was a big surprise to me when people like whoopi goldberg, jon stewart and even sarah palin on the far right agreed that what had taken place was really out of bounds. since this controversy broke, as i have told you, people everywhere say to me, you know, i understand what
it is to feel that you can't speak in this country today, and tell me that they feel that there is too much a coded speech, political correctness, and it's being enforced by, well, enforced by political parties, enforced by lobbying groups, by advocacy groups, political correctness that is used to enforce identity, group identity in this country. it's used to raise money. of course, it's used by donors and advertisers, and therefore, people in the middle, and let me remind you, most americans do not identify as conservatives or liberals. they identify as people in the middle. they have thoughts that vary p about different issues and they find that, you know what? to be in the middle is often to be to feel that you have no voice. you're not allowed to
express reservations, concerns, worry that you have misunderstood an issue or you are being misunderstood because someone could say you're stupid or again, you're out of line, and of course, they worry that the people who do get to speak in the country are most often the provocateurs, the people who will say the most extreme things are given a platform, a microphone, a t.v. camera, and they say the most wild and out of line things and everybody pays attention and then we go back into our politically correct speech code in which so much goes unsaid. this inflexibility is a defining feature of our national discourse at this moment and truly, to me, is tragic. let me shift again, and as a talk show host, well, when do you think started?
i guess i would answer that i believe that, in fact, you go back to the '60's and i think there was lots of effort to try to change the way americans spoke as part of fighting barriers of inequality, racial and gender stereotypes back then, and it was clearly of good intent that we want to try to eliminate bias in the way that we speak because that's evidence of the way we think, but i think that we have come to the moment now of this inflexible debate. let me offer you some examples. i think that when the obama administration refuses to call terrorists terrorists, despite daniel pearl, "the wall street journal"ist -- "the wall street journal"ist that was murdered, i don't understand it. think about van gogh being
killed, a man who made a documentary about the mistreatment of muslim women but no one wants to say that was a terrorist act, or you think about a journalist or political cartoonist like molly norris being in hiding to this day because she proposed to have a day in which political cartoonists lampooned the prophet mohammed. again, this is terrorism. but you see the administration being reluctant to call it such. the president has the guts to go into pakistan to get bin laden, but again, avoids speaking frankly about the source of these acts, the people, the terrorists. as a talk show host, let me just again say that that's one example. do you have other examples? i would say well, you know what, this kind of speech code also extends to current arguments that we see in today's papers about budgets , entitlements.
i think paul ryan, the congressman from wisconsin was brave to put forward an idea on how we can get entitlements under control. i might not agree with the specifics of it, but here was an idea put forward. every commission or group that has looked at this nation's budget agrees that there has to be a mix of spending cuts and tax increases if we're serious about deficit reduction. but the other side of the paul ryan story is that the republicans will not even allow discussion of tax increases or even elimination of subsidies, and then cite the iconic president ronald reagan for refusing to raise taxes even though if you check the record and i'm old enough to know the record, president reagan on more than a few occasions raised taxes. even when politicians try to break out of this pattern of republicans are allowed to say this and democrats are allowed to say this, then
they find that there are other people in the party who insist, who hammer them into adapting the official line, the official line and message of the day, and the result is paralysis for us as a nation in terms of, and here's another example, taking on major issues like immigration. you think back to '06, president george w. bush, the chamber of commerce, senator mccain, all tried to take on this issue, but what happened to them? they were absolutely muzzled by the provocateur provocateursk radio, especially whipped up anger with accusations that illegal immigrants were being given amnesty and then there were suggestions that we really didn't have so much of a problem with the illegal immigrants as the possibility of terrorists
crossing the border and there was talk of lepers. it was unbelievable, but of course it shut down the real debate, the real discussion on a major issue in american life, immigration, and as a result to this day, 2011, nothing has been done on the immigration issue. imagine then again that i'm the talk show host, and i would say to you, juan williams, well, how do we get out of this box? and i would say, you know, day in and day out, as someone who covers american politics, i don't see an easy out, because i see our political leaders modeling just this kind of muzzling behavior. i remember that former florida congressman alan grayson called his opponent in the congressional race last year, dan webster, called him taliban dan, and ran under the circumstances
irly misleading ads about his opponent. apparently you can get away with it. i remember that sharron angle in nevada proposing to use second amendment remedies that. kind of rhetoric is not only offensive, certainly threatening violence, but again suggesting that your opponents are not worthy of being heard. they have to be shut down, and of course, you all remember republican congressman joe wilson yelling "you lied" to the president in a middle of a an address to joint congress on healthcare reform, and i think we all know about democrats in wisconsin fleeing the state to avoid a vote that they knew they were going to lose, and what about senator jon kyl recently saying that 90% of what planned parenthood does in this country is abortions. later, when he was confronted with the facts and told this is wrong, he
said he didn't mean it as a fact. well, how do you have a discussion when you can't express the facts? so as a talk show host, let me ask this question of you, juan, do we need to get back to the facts? is that one possible way for us to get out of this box? well, to that question, i'd have to say the facts are important, as daniel patrick moynahan said many years ago, you can argue opinions but not facts. and, in fact, it seems to me there is more room for solutions borne of common ground than the provocateurs and some politicians who want you to believe, that americans really are pretty sensible, trustworthy people. i do not believe that we are bigots. i believe that we can have a sincere conversation, but our greatest skepticism, our greatest scorn should be for
people with different -- not for people who have different ideas than we have, but for people who refuse to listen, to discuss, people that refuse to entertain any views but their own, a willingness to engage in discussion and debate, and when you hear about birthers and death panels an obama is a muslim, all it does is contribute to the polarized mean-spirited and distorted political reality that we live with today and i think too often people are being rewarded with political victories and money for maintaining this dysfunctional status quo. congresswoman gabby giffords said before she was shot said that a politician who tries to be reasonable, to tries to find ways to
compromise is not rewarded in this environment. that's why i think that we see today in the course of journalism something that all of us hold so dear that really is niche journalism that is being rewarded, far right, far left, blog websites, magazines, and i think the consequence is what i have experienced in the aftermath of my firing. so many people expressing a hunger in america for honest, frank discussions, for people that they could trust, they can look in their eye and say i understand what you're talking about. tell me more. people who would not simply involuntarily revert to a rigid orthodoxy, to political correctness or to speech code. that's why i think what happened to me became such a large issue. it was never about me. it was always about our nation's ability to have debate and for people to feel as if we're talking to each other.
we're telling each other what we're feeling and trying to express in service to the larger goals of solving problems and not being in the politics of polarization. that's why as i'm gathered here with you this afternoon, if you can stop this imaginary talk show, i would hope that all of you, as practicing journalists, all of you who understand the importance of this profession to our democracy would pick up this mantle of trying to get away from simply repeating one more time this is the official message coming from left or right on x issue and perpetuating the idea that anybody who disagrees is therefore not a good conservative or not a good liberal or doesn't belong in the club, and therefore deserves to be shunned, silenceed or fired. we've got to get away from it.
it really is essential to our future as an american people. thank you very much. [applause] >> i hate to tell you, juan, but here comes the talk show host. it has been six months since making the comments on the o'reilly show, would you have not done anything differently at all if you you are with able to go back in time? >> no, and, mark, let me say that i was asked, you know, when i was -- when i got that phone call, that fateful call, the suggestion was made, well, do you have any remorse, and i said well, no, because that's generally what i feel.
again, it wasn't that i offered some analysis that it was embracing the idea that people should feel this way or people should act this way or people should discriminate against a certain group. i was simply telling you how i felt, and that was not meant to be provocative. it wasn't in service to try and stir an audience. it was in service to a larger conversation to suggest, yeah, i understand where you're coming from when you say i associate muslims and terrorism in this society. i understand why someone might have that thought and then building on that as part of a logical progression to try to achieve some understanding between two points of view, so no, i didn't -- i never had a second thought about that. >> someone hearing your speech said not one of the muslims that you mentioned, the 9/11 bombers, i don't know how that know that exactly, the shoe bomber, et cetera, were dressed as muslims so with respect to your comment, does that still hold up if you reflect on that alone? >> no, it wasn't the
specific of being dressed. the dress suggested to my mind, of course, that well, this person is first and foremost identifying themselves as a muslim. so, i mean, it's not the case, how would i know someone was a muslim if they were dressed in ordinary street clothes as i'm dressed today, i wouldn't know, and even if i did know, then of course the question would become would i leap to that feeling, to that reaction? all i'm saying is when i saw someone, people who were first and foremost dressed in that way, it triggered a response in me and i must say if you read the papers every few weeks you will come across a story in a situation where people who are often times i see muslim clerics who might be praying before a flight or engaging in what some people might regard as suspicious behavior because they're cloistered or speaking a foreign language and those people have a reaction and it gets into the papers so i don't think it is exactly an alien or strange feeling on my part, no, i don't.
>> any thoughts that might be different as a result of what has happened with the arab spring? in the sense of the perception of the arab world that has been changed in the events of the past few months? >> i don't quite see how those two would relate. again, the focus in my mind and all of us who lived through 9/11 and have lived through subsequent terror alerts and concerns and attacks in spain and indonesia and the rest and what happened in times square, you know what? i think that's the context in which i think prompted the context that prompted this feeling for my mind of seeing a pattern here that would cause me alarm as i'm getting on an airplane. >> it is an interesting intersection that you drew out in your speech about what is going on in the media, and then the ability to express one's feelings, as you put it, so let's draw that out a little bit about what is appropriate, let's say on air and what contributes to a civil
debate in a society where we value democracy and many of the values that you enunciated so well. so you're going on the air and you're in a wonderful position. you're paid to express your opinion. some journalists in other settings have a different set of guide rules. how do you decide what to filter when you're on the air, what to say and what not to say? >> you know, this is an interesting question for me, because i worked at fox news before i was hired by npr. i was working at "the washington post" when i was first hired by cnn and then fox and then i went to npr and the question was put to me again in the context of the conversation when i was told i was being fired, would you have said that on npr, and i said of course i would have said that on npr, it's the way i feel. i don't change from one set
of opinions to another based on the audience that i'm addressing, and i think, in fact, that's part of the value that was acknowledged by npr and fox in both hiring me to perform functions for their audiences that people could say, you know what? he's speaking his truth. now, there is a clear line, mark, to be drawn between someone who is a reporter and someone who is a news analyst. a political commentator. i was paid in both roles as a political commentator. i was asked, therefore, to express opinions, feelings, to try to bring people the larger picture to give them an understanding of how political events and political ideas are being griff driven in this society. i think there is a line if you are paid to tell the story in a straightforward manner, that's what you should do.
i don't think total objectivity is always possible but certainly we can strive for that goal, but if you are paid to be a political analyst and commentator, to screen -- did you use the word screen or filter out? >> filter out. >> i think if you start playing games like that the audience realizes you're not authentic and you know what's going on but you're not saying it or you're saying it in such a way to speak to one audience that simply wants to have its preexisting views confirmed, and they're tuning in for that, and that's just not who i am and i think that's why i strive for a higher level of trust with the audience, that the audience would say i trust you to tell me your truth. i think that's a very high goal for all journalists. >> and it just so happens that the npr ombudsman, or
in this case, woman, had written in her blog and you're proper probably aware of this, she said "williams speaks one way on npr and another on fox," so what do you think about that? >> not true. i think she's wrong, and i think, again, trying to understand her, and trying to understand what she might be talking about, and this is the same person who made the suggestion, well, what if he saw three rough looking black kids walking down the street late at night, to acknowledge that you might be anxious about that is evidence of racism, i don't think so. but anyway, there are different formats, clearly cable has a much higher value put on time, less time, much more of a debate format, much more confrontational. you're on camera, so the way that you look has value, ok. now on radio, when i was working for npr, morning
edition, all things considered, weekend edition, all these shows, typically my role there was as a veteran washington journalist, someone who had worked for so long at "the washington post," as mark described, someone who had been around time, knows people, has good sources and i was being asked specific questions by a host, but when the formal interview-type format would break down, it was pretty much back and forth and sometimes humorously and sometimes pointedly, but very much like what you would see in terms of the fox morm mat, but that was -- format, but that was less frequent than on fox. these are different formats. that is to be separated from content. it was never the case that the content that i was delivering in one format or the other would vary depending on the audience. that's like a politician who gives one speech to one group and another to another. i just don't play that game. >> not that that ever
happens. but you say you don't do that. you know, we talked about vivian schiller. ellen weiss was the person who delivered the message to you, correct? she was let go before vivian schiller. as you look back on all that, were those dismissals warranted? >> well, it's not my call to make, but clearly i felt mistreated and traumatized and i don't think that it was a service to the institution, npr, which i value greatly. i think npr is an important journalistic institution and i think when you are engaged in the kind of practice that would silence people or punish people for speaking their truth, i don't think that's healthy. i don't think it's healthy for the institution given the pressures that it has been under for many years from people on the right who were saying npr is far too liberal. again, i think what you have to do is make sure that you
are being fair with your employees and with the audience, and it's not about catering to any one slice of the audience and saying we are going to simply tell people what they want to hear and we're not going to introduce different points of view or different stories that might contradict the existing line, so i did not think that she was serving the institution very well. in fact, i think, as you could tell from the subsequent debate about npr funding, it opened up a lot of discussion that i think has been debilitating to what is an outstanding brand, npr. >> perhaps we will get in to more of that in a moment. this is a chicken and the egg question. it's clear that the political debate in recent years has become much more negative and it just so happens that that is real nexted in radio talk shows and on cable shows and now
there is more time devoted to arguments. do you see cable assetting a tone for the political debate in our country or is it merely reflecting it and what is the appropriate role for those media? >> well, i think that, first and foremost, i want to remind you, mark, that i was a substitute for many years on crossfire on cnn. crossfire really was, i think, the provocateur of debate shows on cable where you get from the left and on the right, so i'm not sure that i would agree with the premise there, but i would say that the idea of vigorous debate should not be limited to the extremes. sometimes i used to think on some of those shows, some of those crossfire shows that the producers, ideally, if it was up to them, they would have david duke and louis farrakhan as the guests and say we're having a discussion about race in america tonight.
well, what kind of discussion is that? but i'm sure they would get big ratings. i'm sure it would be fish ry and there would be -- it would be fishy and lots of stories in the morning paper but i don't think it would help us understand race relations in america, so when you ask me, you know, what format, i think it's important to have debate, to hear contrasting points of view, but i really do put a high premium on having reasonable people engaged in the debate and people who have some sense of respect and trust for each other as opposed to people who are simply the finger pointers, playing a blame game or demonizing their opponents. >> how do you rationalize going to work for one of the conservative networks as they exploit you to maintain the image that they are fair and balanced, do they not?
>> let me first say after i was fired, "the washington post" wrote that i was the most conservative voice on npr, which was a surprise to me, but when i thought about it, maybe so, but it just tells you that, again, everything is relative in this world, that i might have been the most conservative voice at npr. i might be the most liberal voice on fox. this question about being exploited by fox would suggest somehow that it might be better if i wasn't there, if i wasn't willing to engage in debate with people who do advertise themselves as conservatives. i think, again, that's an important act in terms of saying well, here's a different point of view. no one is telling me what to say. i'm allowed to challenge, to debate. sometimes i think i get less time and the worst lighting and the worst seat, but i think the debate is there for all to see, and i think that's one of the benefits of fox.
you can hear the debate. you can hear both sides of it. now, the idea that i'm a foil for some of the leading personalities i think is without a doubt, but again, that's the format. people tune in in our current media landscape, people tune in to primetime personality-driven programs. and people are looking for that strong authoritative voice of the host. that's what attracts people to that news product, and then to have someone come in and challenge those, i think that's thoroughly legitimate. i don't think that's a matter of being exploited off having my credibility or legitimacy used in some -- or misused in some way. i think it's evidence in some fact of legitimate debate being aired for all americans to consume, educated media consumers.
i think that's what we should be seeking out. >> you were talking earlier about the funding debate for public broadcasting. you have said you no longer -- and correct me if i'm wrong, but essentially you suggested that funding should be cut off by the congress. can you explain that? is it just coincidental that you're no longer working for public broadcast? >> no, it's not borne of any vindictive streak in me. that's not my character, but it is borne of this moment when in the midst of all of this, you will recall that there was a tape made, mark, and this tape was secretly recorded of top npr fund-raisers in discussion with people, and here they are saying, you know, we prefer not to have government funding, so that's apparently their genuine feeling, but it's not expressed publicly. the public expression is oh, no, if we lose -- and it's a very small percentage, one to two percent of overall funding coming from government sources, oh,
well, it might impact some small markets, some rural markets, some stations might have to shut down. in fact, i what i think you would see is a lot of stations that join hands. i think you would see more consolidation of markets. it wouldn't result in anybody losing access to national public radio. but the point that i feel most strongly is this, and i say it to you as a journalist, mark, that i think journalists shouldn't have to look over their shoulder as to whether or not politicians of any stripe, liberal, conservative, independents, socialists, whatever they might be, think they are doing a good job, and if you look at the debate that was taking place at the time over npr funding, there were fund raising letters being sent out by democrats saying republicans want to cut funding because they feel npr responds to limbaugh and hannity and the like, and i thought, oh, so when democrats don't feel npr is doing the job of responding, then democrats will
challenge npr's funding. i feel this is a bad game for anybody who wants to do journalism. i think let the politicians play their games and then let the journalists do their jobs. >> so you worked for a number of different enterprises, as we said earlier. how are flus organizations generally doing on newsroom diversity, however you might define it? >> well, i don't have the statistics with me. i didn't come prepared for that, but i think as i look around, my sense is diversity with women is doing great, that there are more and more women in the workplace. i think i see more and more women personalities. i think until recently you had katie couric and diane sawyer as two of the nightly news anchors and in terms of young people coming in, i think young women are without a doubt far outperforming young men. in fact, i think part of a larger sociological dynamic where we see colleges and universities now predominantly filled by young women. if you look at graduate
professional schools the difference is even greater in terms of more young women moving up in terms of leadership and top skill positions in our country, but when it comes to racial diversity, there i find myself sometimes just shaking my head, because the racial diversity has not improved even as you would look at the demographics of the country and say, well, gee, you know, there are more people of color, now more than a third of the american population, more young people of color than even that number would indicate, if you look at the population under 32. it's now approaching 40%, and so you say to yourself, gee, it would seem like there would have been a breakthrough by this point in terms of representation of racial minorities in those highly competitive media jobs, but i think that with the cutbacks that we have all been seeing in newspapers and of course it's impacted also at t.v.
and radio, it has not acted in any beneficial way for racial diversity in american media. >> is it true that donald trump sent you a note after you signed on to a draft trump website in the way of drafting him as a presidential candidate, and if so, what were you thinking, and was it racism that fueled some of his comments targeting president obama? >> mark, i didn't know you allowed drinking at these luncheons. i don't know what that's about. that's the wildest fabrication i have ever heard. >> you said earlier this month and we don't -- well, maybe we do, but we don't encourage it. you said earlier this month that ron paul could win the g.o.p. nomination. why do you believe that, and how would the g.o.p. ticket fare in the general election? >> well, i didn't say ron paul could win. i said i think we're living in the age of ron paul. you think of ron paul as
really the father of the tea party movement in this country. you think of ron paul -- i mean, his son is now in the senate. you think of the debate that we're having over entitlements, and even the federal reserve and the role of government it plays in stimulating or trying to help to revive our ailing economy. ron paul has been in the forefront of so many of these arguments, so many of these conversations and it just seems to me more and more that we're living in the age of ron paul. i'm amazed. i was one of the panelists for the debate held in south carolina. there is ron paul talking about things like legalizing marijuana, cocaine and heroin and getting applause from a conservative south carolina republican audience. that's stunning to me. ron paul suggesting, you know what, we've been in afghanistan too long. i think on that stage you had ron paul and gary johnson, the former governor of new mexico, both buying into this argument coming from republicans. that's not the party line
shall believe me. so i thought, again, this is very different, and i thought gary johnson was more as a function of ron paul than the other way around and i think ron paul has become, you know, many people don't know him, and he still is able to raise a tremendous amount of money, i might add, but ron paul is a power player in a way that i think oftentimes goes below the spring. people don't pick it up in terms of his true power. i don't know that he would have much success as a presidential candidate. i'd be surprised if he won the nomination. >> thank you. we're almost out of town. before asking the last question, a couple of routine housekeeping matters. first of all, i would like to remind you about upcoming luncheon speakers. june 13, tom vilsack will discuss how innovative efforts of science tests and others are ventral to feeding a growing global population and june 14,
brent scowcroft, advisor under president ford will speak at our annual gerald ford journalisms award and june 3, gary vin niece will announce the -- gary sinise will announce a fund for charities supporting the military and june 11, the national press club hosts the 14th annual beat the deadline 5k race featuring tony horton from cnn and secondly, i would like to present our guest with the traditional npc coffee mug, in our appreciation of you being here today. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> and now i ask the last question. you have worked as a newspaperman, and you have been on the radio and now television and i assume you are now better paid than you were before, but if it wasn't about the pay but just about the work, which of those platforms would be your favorite and why? >> well, actually, bob and i were talking about this and
i said i still, if you wake me in the middle of the night, i still think of myself as a newspaper guy, because i came up as a newspaper writer. now, i must tell you, though, that people, i think, generally don't read by lines. on t.v. they see you but they see you more than they hear you and they have a very emotional response to you and to who you are and summary rest, and you know, they will offer comments on your ties and all the rest, and then on the radio, the very interesting thing, it is such an intimate medium. when i was doing talk of the nation i would find that people would write me letters and say you're the other adult in the car when i'm taking the kids to school in the morning or the other adult when i'm gardening our my friend in the middle of the day. i was like, wow. then they would send me pictures of myself. now, this is very interesting, because the pictures -- they were sketches, not actual
pictures, but people who would suggest here is what i think you look like, so i ended up looking bald, and in some pictures i would have a goatee, this thoughtful caricature of the npr talk show host and in some of the pictures i was white, then black, hispanic and it was as if it was really a function of their imagination. you get far more into their imagination in radio than you do in the other two media, but i will say that t.v. really spreads you out. more people hear you. i think t.v. is the medium of our times. i think that's where the american public gets most of their information these days, but for in depth reporting, there is nothing in my mind that beats a great newspaper. >> how about a round of applause for our guest speaker today? [applause] thank you for coming today. i would like to thank national press club staff
senator john ensign. >> a week ago, senator ensign was forced to resign. report, as committee woul you name it -- has your name in it, that you tried to convince him to end the affair and that you also try to get him out of the situation. >> that is totally inaccurate. i got a phone call one day asking me to communicate a message to john. i called him and asked him if he wanted me to. he said yes. the story here is not an accurate reflection of what happened. >> an ethics complaint has been filed against you. has the committee contacted you? >> i testified before the
committee. i have no worries. what i did i would do exactly the same way again. we put two families back together, multiple children, both marriages are stable right now. there is nothing unethical in what we did. >> you can see the entire interview on "newsmakers," sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on c-span. it is also available online at c-span.org. >> now available, the c-span congressional directory, a complete guide to the first session of the 112th congress. inside, new and returning house members with contact information, district maps and committee assignments, and information on the white house, supreme court justices and governors. order online at c-span.org.
>> senate minority leader mitch mcconnell on friday insisted the changes to medicare are being discussed as part of an agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling. he dismissed the significance of this week's special election in upstate new york where a democrat won a heavily republican seat after campaigning against a house gop medicare plan. this is about 20 minutes. >> what have we done about that and deficit? erskine bowles said this is the most predictable crisis in american history. admiral mullin called it our biggest national security threat, our debt, not some military adversary. so, what have we done to advance
the ball and to try to begin to do what we all know we need to do? well, this week we had a vote on four different budget proposals. the president's budget proposal back in december received no votes at all, not a one. the house-passed budget received the votes of almost all republicans. that was created by one of our own members -- and not a single democrat. i think we have to ask at this point, what is the senate democratic plan to do something about the most predictable crisis in american history? we are waiting for it. some have referred to the president's speech as their plan. i guess that was one of the more recent speeches. we as parliamentarians if you can vote on a speech. -- we have asked the
parliamentarian if you can vote on a speech. the answer is, you cannot vote for a speech. when will they step up and help us deal with the most predictable crisis in history? the good news is that i remain hopeful that in connection with the decision to raise the debt ceiling, we will do something significant about the deficit and debt. that is our best opportunity. it is the only discussion in town going on with the most important democrat in the country at the table of the president of the united states. he is also the only one of the 370 million of us who can sign a bill into law. but from a democratic perspective, there is no plan at all. with that, i will throw open to what you all might want to talk about. >> vice president biden said he
thinks a goal of these talks should be raising the debt ceiling, deficit-reduction, and potential trilltriggers. >> all this talk about how medicare is not going to be part of the solution is nonsense. let me quote president clinton. i do not think democrats or republicans should conclude from the new york race that no changes should be made to medicare. that is similar to congressman hoyer. i believe the vice president also said similar things. medicare will be a part of any agreement to begin to reduce our long-term debt.
i am not going to put a number on the overall package, but we all know what the driver of the debt is. we all know that every year about 40% of the budget is medicare, medic cade and social security. when willie sutton said he robbed banks because that is where the money was, you simply cannot get a comprehensive solution or on a pathway to a solution to our debt and deficit problem and leave entitlements aside. i will not put a number on what we hope to achieve, but i have said repeatedly and i will say again, to get my vote, for me, it is going to take short-term, that is, meaningful caps at least in 2012 and 2013.
i am in favor of long-term capps too, but that is sort of a promise to maybe do something some day, and short-term capps give you an enormous savings because you have adjusted the baseline. medium and long term entitlements, if you bend the line downward, since we do not vote on it every day, the best we can hope for is the generational social security fix that reagan and tip o'neill did in 1983. it needs to be fixed again, but it did hold up for a quarter of a century. those are the kinds of things that it would take to get my vote. >> will there be any recess appointments next week?
did majority leader read agree to that? >> those discussions go on between myself and the administration. i was confident there would not be recess appointments. all of us did feel that leaving without having voted on a budget was a mistake, and that is a letter of 47 of assigned to senator reid -- signed to senator reid, and that was the reason senator sessions objected to having the adjournment. i'm confident there will not be recess appointments based on the conversations i have had with the administration. >> the think it is necessary for the senate to weigh in on libya? >> senator mccain and senator kerry have been talking about some sort of resolution. i'm going to take my leave from senator mccain.
he has been the most involved in the issue. he has been to benghazi, as you know. he mentioned yesterday that he has spoken to senator reid, and he anticipated, and again, i'm quoting other people, which i usually do not do, but i think it is fair to say that we would likely return to such a resolution within a week or two after we get back. >> i want to discuss the ryan budget since he voted on at this week. do you think that based on new york's 26, that might be a liability when you go to the polls in november? >> i can only quote president clinton again. you cannot deal with our biggest crisis -- standard and poor's has sent us a signal. the united states is on the verge of having its credit
downgraded -- the united states of america. all this talk about how to deal with the big crisis that erskine bowles and alan simpson are talking about without medicare is nonsense. i think the 2012 election will take care of itself. it is about a year-and-a-half from now. i would think that we will hopefully have done something significant in this area by then, and the american people can decide if they want to punish both sides for having done that, because it will take both sides to do it. >> i would like to follow up on that. could you discuss the political challenges for republicans when it comes to reforming medicare, given that the democrats have a pretty easy message and something that has legs, which is that the republicans want to take medicare away? >> when president clinton is saying what he did yesterday, when congressman hoyer, the no.
2 house democrat is saying what he did yesterday, who is their argument with? it is amongst themselves. everybody in this town knows you cannot do anything about the single biggest problem we have without impacting medicare. the good news is for current medicare beneficiaries, we are not talking about them. we're talking about down the road. i think we will have done something significant to alter the trajectory long-term on medicare well before the election. we do not know what the issues are going to be in next year's election. it is a year-and-a-half -- >> the think republicans should have done a better job of communicating this. >> i am trying to do that. i do not think it is that hard. [laughter] i am going to quote bill
clinton, steny hoyer and erskine bowles. you all have been writing that stuff. i do not think it is an issue people should be apprehensive about. think everybody in america is concerned about whether or not we're going to have the same kind of country for our kids that our parents left behind for us. so, there are a whole lot of things that are going to be impacted. frankly, if there were up to me, we would be discussing social security as well. it ran a deficit this year. this year, not some time way off in the future. the important thing to remind people who are currently on -- beneficiaries of entitlement programs is that we are not talking about them. we are talking about having sustainable programs for future generations. once you introduce that fact inhe